Antimicrobial Resistance

Reducing the need for antimicrobials by improving animal husbandry practices


The role of Veterinary Paraprofessionals (VPPs) is crucial in communicating risks to farmers and promoting best practices for disease prevention, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, where the number of veterinarians is low. They play a vital role in filling this gap by providing services to boost livestock health and productivity.

Local training institutes in Nigeria and Uganda held a training workshop for VPPs to fill this gap. The aim was to equip them with knowledge and skills on best practices for preventing infectious diseases and reducing the need for antimicrobials on farms.

The workshops focused on developing tailored biosecurity plans and raising awareness on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) at farm and community levels. The project aims to enhance One Health and biosecurity practices at the farm level by improving service providers’ technical skills and knowledge.

The participants were VPPs who completed the online Biosecurity and One Health course hosted by FAO’s Virtual Learning Centre in September 2023. They learned various skills, such as improving communication with their communities and raising awareness of AMR.

In Nigeria, the workshops were organised by the College of Agriculture and Animal Science in Kaduna and the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training in Ibadan. In Uganda, the workshops were organised by Bukalasa Agricultural College, the National Animal Genetic Resource Centre, and the Data Bank.

Four trainers from each institute delivered sessions on biosecurity, AMR, development of biosecurity plans, preparation for farm visits and awareness-raising events.

Participants were taken through interactive farm biosecurity presentations emphasising the bottom-top approach. They were introduced to antimicrobial use and resistance and efforts to reduce the need for antimicrobials. The face-to-face workshops helped to improve VPPs’ understanding of the risk-based approach for smallholder farmers.

Additionally, VPPs visited farms during training to conduct biosecurity risk assessments and discussed findings in groups. In addition to holding feedback sessions with farmers on their biosecurity plans, VPPs participated in awareness-raising sessions using communication materials from a toolbox developed under FAO’s initiative to reduce the need for antimicrobials in agrifood systems (RENOFARM).

The farm visits and awareness-raising sessions enabled VPPs to practice communication with farmers on the risks involved with the misuse of antimicrobials in livestock.

Improving animal husbandry practices

The training of VPPs is an essential first step in establishing an approach for communicating risks to farmers. Not only would this bolster extension activities in the field, but it also has the potential to influence behaviour change in farming communities.

Following the training, some VPPs have conducted awareness-raising sessions with farmers in Central and Western Uganda, Oyo, and Kano states in Nigeria, demonstrating their ability to supervise herd health programmes and create awareness on best practices for improved production and health.

The growing cadre of VPPs in East and West Africa with improved capacity for extension services will improve preparedness and response to health threats and contribute to safe and efficient food systems.

These workshops are part of the ‘Equipping Veterinary Paraprofessionals and Local Service Providers’ project funded by the Flexible Multi-Partner Mechanism.


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