This manual is primarily a working guide (Part I) for diagnosing, treating and preventing common food animal diseases, for proper feeding of food animals and for useful husbandry practices for raising healthy and productive food animals. It also contains guidelines (Part II) addressed to primary animal health care worker's trainers and supervisors and Part III contains guidelines for adapting the manual to different conditions in various countries.
Who is the Primary Animal Health Care Worker (PAHCW)?
The PAHCW is a man or woman who can read and write and is selected by the local community or with their agreement to deal with animal health and production in the community.
Conditions of Work
The PAHCW will be responsible to both the local community authorities and the local government veterinary services. He or she will follow instructions from local government veterinary authorities and work as a team.
The PAHCW will be paid for his work, in cash or kind, by the local community; he or she may be full-time or part-time, depending on the requirements.
What Training will the PAHCW Receive?
The PAHCW will receive initial training from government veterinary officials in the country. This training will be practical and given near his home. Preferably, the training should be given by local veterinary officials who will be responsible for continued on-the-spot or periodic training. A plan for further training should be worked out.
What will the PAHCW do?
The work of the PAHCW will cover both animal health care and community development, as the health of animals and that of the community are very much influenced by any improvement in the environment.
The animal health and production work of the PAHCW will be restricted to what he or she has learned. The PAHCW must realize his limitations and know that there is only a restricted number of things he can do. He or she will not be able to solve all the problems encountered, but should be able to deal with the most common and urgent problems.
The community development work of the PAHCW should serve to encourage the local authorities and the people to show initiative and take an interest in any activity likely to improve their living conditions. He should always consider what can be done locally with the community's own resources at the least possible cost.
The PAHCW's duties will depend on the problems met. These will vary from one country and location to another. It is not possible to draw up a list of problems valid throughout the world.
From the problems selected, which make up Part I of the manual, one can outline the functions of the PAHCW:
1. Care for sick animals, protect the health of the people and look after community hygiene.
2. Provide reliable information on animal feeding and husbandry methods to improve the productivity of food animals.
3. Give advice to anyone who consults him, in accordance with the instructions contained in this manual or given by the veterinary services in the country.
4. Refer sick animals to the nearest veterinary centre or contact local veterinary authorities to personally visit the community to examine and treat sick animals. The PAHCW should, therefore, confine his treatment and advice to those cases, conditions and situations described in the manual.
5. With the authorization of the local authorities, visit all farmers and advise the people how to prevent diseases and increase food animal productivity.
6. Make regular reports to the local authorities on the health and productivity of food animals belonging to the community. Get from the local authorities and the people the support needed for his or her work.
7. Keep in as close contact as possible with the local veterinary authorities so as to be able to give of his best in his work and to obtain the equipment and supplies required.
8. Promote community development activities and play an active part in them.
To discharge these functions the PAHCW:
a) is available at all times to respond to any emergency calls;
b) acts in all circumstances with common sense and devotion to duty, and is aware of his limitations and responsibilities;
c) does not leave the community without first informing the local authorities; and
d) takes part in the training organized by the veterinary services.
The PAHCW should spend some time with other social development workers concerned with improving agricultural practices, food protection, water supply, home economics, etc. He or she must know about services and opportunities for development available in the district and keep his community well informed.
It follows then that the PAHCW is the practical expression of a community's determination to be responsible for its own animal health care and production and make up for any deficiencies which might exist in the veterinary service coverage. The PAHCW should improve the community's participation in what will be part of a provincial/national health programme planned and run by the national veterinary service authorities with the active contribution of the people.