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Veterinary Medicine Educational Twinning Project

Redeveloping and improving the core veterinary medicine curriculum at the University of Gondar in Ethiopia is the goal of The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Faculty from both institutions have established a three-year project that will follow guidelines provided by the World Organisation for Animal Health through its Veterinary Education Twinning Program. The program provides curricular targets and outlines methods for enhancing institutional capacity and expertise in veterinary medicine in both developing and in-transition countries.

For example, a veterinary education curriculum should address not only traditional clinical medicine and diagnostics, but also preventive measures, risk analysis, epidemiology, zoonotic diseases, international trade and regulations, among others. A thorough understanding of these subject areas will ensure that a new veterinarian is better prepared at time of graduation to be able to support their nation’s veterinary services. Consequently, local veterinary education programs must train their students in a manner that is not only compatible with the local needs, but also with the national and global communities.

Like many countries in Africa, the Ethiopian economy relies heavily on agriculture and livestock production. With the largest livestock population in sub-Saharan Africa – primarily maintained by the pastoralist community and small farm holders – veterinary services supporting such communities are uniquely tied to the financial stability of the region. Past efforts to increase the stability and income of these communities have focused mostly on investment, market access, and general educational development. Little attention has been paid to the enhancement of education to support the country’s veterinary services that oversee the nation’s animal health needs.

Based on the University of Gondar’s needs and priorities, new and updated courses, educational materials, and diverse teaching tools will be generated to provide the fundamental education and skills that new graduates require to provide quality veterinary services.

The University of Gondar is one of 10 veterinary colleges in Ethiopia, many of which have been established in the last 10 years. The growth in veterinary schools is an opportunity to maximize the impact of this twinning project to enable the University of Gondar to serve as a model and mentor to other veterinary colleges in Ethiopia that are establishing, revising, or expanding their curriculum. Ohio State hopes that new graduates who receive training under the enhanced curriculum will become faculty members at other institutions and be able to share their knowledge and expertise to future veterinarians in Ethiopia.