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FAO provides support to Community Animal Health Workers (CAHWS) in the Dry Zone

11/05/2017

Community Animal Health Workers (CAHWs) provide front line animal health services such as vaccination and treatment for livestock belonging to smallholder farming households throughout the country, yet their work has suffered from a number of weaknesses, including poor quality service from a lack of technical training. Importantly, their role and status has not been officially recognized in regulatory frameworks.

That all changed on 24th February 2017, after the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) brought together key sector stakeholders from government, among which the Livestock Breeding and Veterinary Department (LBVD), the Myanmar Veterinary Council (MVC), the University of Veterinary Science (UVS) and private sector to agree on a firm policy direction on CAHWs.

The path is now open for the establishment of standardized training and accreditation programs, bringing Myanmar into line with best practice in the region.

For smallholders, this will mean more effective services. Farmers commonly sell their livestock for heavy discounts when they fall ill: with better confidence in animal health services, they are more likely to seek assistance and return their livestock to good health.

FAO-lead and funded by LIFT project “Improving Farmer Livelihoods in the Dry Zone through Improved Livestock Health, Productivity and Marketing” is a part of the LIFT Dry Zone programme. The workshop was the culmination of over nine month’s work, involving stakeholder meetings and field studies on the work of CAHWs.

“The decision to develop a firm policy framework for CAHWs is of the highest significance for the smallholders livestock sector, and also has significant implications for veterinary education” says Dr. Murray Maclean, Chief Technical Adviser for FAO.

The policy workshop on CAHWs also established the broad framework for a Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) system for the livestock sector. This framework aims to provide the training and accreditation system for people to, on the one hand, gain employment in the sector, and on the other, to enable employers, whether they be government, private sector businesses, to gain access to qualified staff.

The nest step for the FAO project now is to engage with a broad range of stakeholders  to develop the details of the regulatory framework for CAHWs, and to define more clearly other areas of technical training needed to provide better services to smallholders, specially focused on the Myanmar’s Dry Zone.