Veterinary Council Inaugurated

The importance of a first fully-fledged Namibian Veterinary Council (NVC)was stressed by Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF), John Mutorwa, when he officially announced the names of the ten-member council.

The new NVC comes in the wake of Namibia’s prolonged battle with South African authorities to relax stringent new animal health requirements for export to that country, a situation that has crippled the Namibian weaner, sheep and goat industry since May, and which will continue to have a huge effect on the local industry even after South Africa agreed on two separate export permits for breeding and non-breeding animals as from July 21.The newly elected council was established in terms of the comprehensive, modern and relevant Veterinary and Veterinary Para-Professions Act (Act No 1 of 2013), which was approved by Cabinet earlier this year. In essence this new Act will equip the NVC with more negotiating powers, and Mutorwa urged every member to on a regular basis promote the council’s work by educating and informing all stakeholders via meetings, conferences, seminars and workshops.

“Government has invested heavily in modern facilities like the new veterinary laboratory in Ondangwa but all of these are meaningless if we don’t have professionals to ensure the very important work gets done. I therefore appeal to the School of Veterinary Medicine, through Unam’s faculty of Agriculture to do likewise through their lecturing and tutoring programmes,” he stressed.

The Directorate of Veterinary Services (S) of the MAWF provides the permit system for all livestock movement as well as the Namibia Livestock Identification and Traceability System ( NamLITS). It also issues import permits and importation of all animalsanimal products into Namibia. The veterinary staff of the Central Veterinary Laboratory in Windhoek provides an essential back-up service to field diagnosticians, by testing a wide variety of samples for signs of disease conditions, with the help of sophisticated laboratory equipment.

The Central Veterinary Laboratory’s Services are augmented by the smaller Regional Veterinary Laboratories in Gobabis, Grootfontein and Ondangwa. The Central Veterinary Laboratory is also responsible for some residue and bacterial testing concerning hygiene monitoring and exportation of meat.

Epidemiological data is gathered from the laboratories, the export abattoirs and from all field services concerning stock numbers, disease incidence and various other aspects on data collection forms filled in by veterinarians and animal health auxiliaries, and is stored in a central computerised data bank in Windhoek. Here, epidemiological trends are analysed, and passed on to veterinarians, to be disseminated to the AHT and farmers. The Epidemiology Section also provides an information service for specific enquiries that veterinarians may have concerning epidemiological information and international reporting.

The Directorate of Epidemiology is the issuing authority for permits concerning veterinary import control, which is required for the importation of all animalsanimal products into Namibia. As Namibia is an exporting country of various animal products (meat, ostriches, game trophies, hides, skins, etc.) veterinary certification by competent authority (state veterinarians) is indispensable. At each abattoir (Windhoek, Okahandja, Oshakati, Katima Mulilo, Mariental, Witvlei and Keetmanshoop) a veterinarian is responsible for meat hygiene, export control and certification of the finished products.

Source : New Era