Roland SulukuNjala University, Sierra Leone
Title: Personal experience in the treatment of animals in sierra leone without veterinary training
Untrained and unqualified animal owners treat their animals in Sierra Leone, as the five trained veterinary staff employed by the government were based in the capital city and engaged in administrative work. Most animal owners do not believe animals can be treated, while others self-treat their animals as a result, with no advice from trained veterinary staff or livestock officers. Some of the livestock officers use expired drugs to make money, in the process killing the animals treated. There are no veterinary pharmacies and people use human drugs to treat animals as prescribed by barefoot doctors. Policies on livestock developed during the colonial era have not been updated by the livestock division. In 1992, after returning from 4 months of animal practical training at the federal institute of Technology in Switzerland, I started treating animals in the capital city of Freetown with no experience in the veterinary profession but through consultation and prescription of livestock officers. This practice has continued for thirty years and has resulted in the establishment of an animal health club, conducted the best restocking of animals after the civil war, influenced the establishment of the one health serology and molecular diagnostic laboratory; training of laboratory staff, graduating one Ph.D. and MPhil, and two masters’ candidates; and also linked our laboratory to most rural communities in Sierra Leone. This write-up aims to show how untrained and qualified persons can make an impact in the field of animal health without formal veterinary professional training.