FAO in Myanmar

Capacity building of CAHWs for healthier livestock and better income


Aiming at supporting the livestock development, FAO through a LIFT-funded project has worked with the Livestock Breeding and Veterinary Department (LBVD) on developing a national policy to train and accredit Community Animal Health Workers (CAHWs). The project is now piloting the accreditation of a first group of 59 CAHWs and is being conducted in six townships in the Central Dry Zone, in Mandalay and Magway. The findings of the pilot will be utilized to roll out the accreditation program on a national basis.

While the University of Veterinary Science educates veterinarians, very few if any of these will establish practices in rural areas to provide services such as vaccinations and treatments to the cattle, buffalo, pigs, sheep and goats and chickens owned by smallholders. Some veterinarians will join the LBVD, but with only a few LBVD vets per township, there are not enough to meet the demand for veterinary services.

CAHW are locally based villagers who provide such services to village households, on a user-pays basis. But they need good training and strong technical support from LBVD veterinarians to be fully effective. In the pilot accreditation program, FAO has collaborated with LBVD to train a group of township-level LBVD trainers who in turn trained CAHWs. The training program consists of a ten-day classroom-based training course to CAHWs, followed up by monthly meetings and individual field visits to check CAHW work in the field. The trainee CAHWs learn about technical and business management skills, and how to keep daily records. The monthly meetings are an opportunity for CAHWs to share experiences and learn from each other as well as from LBVD staff.

In parallel with the accreditation pilot, FAO is working with LBVD on planning a five-year national program to train and accredit CAHWs nationwide: it is expected that up to 5,000 CAHWs will be accredited. While the current pilot is in the Dry Zone, the training program will need to be adapted to different agro-ecological zones with different ethnic groups.

The CAHW program is an example of successful policy development and implementation with a practical application in the field. The millions of smallholder households with livestock are the ultimate beneficiaries as they make more income from healthy livestock.