by ANNA NTABANE
MOMBELA, (Mpumalanga Guardian) – THE government (South Africa) has discouraged newly-graduated veterinarians from moving abroad but to focus on rendering their services to the country and African continent.
The call came at an event held by the Mpumalanga Agriculture, Rural Development, Land Reform and Environmental Affairs to honour 24 young veterinarians who were part of this year’s Compulsory Community Service (CCS) programme.
Speaking at the event in Nelspruit, Dr Mphane Molefe, the Director of Veterinary Public Health at the Department of Agriculture, urged the young veterinarians to resist the lure of overseas nations like Australia and the United Kingdom.
“Africa is where your skills are needed the most,” Molefe told the animal doctors.
For the community services programme, the individuals were all stationed in all state Vets offices across the province.
The Department of Agriculture rolls out the CCS programme with the aim to promote accessibility of veterinary services particularly in under-serviced and resource-poor areas.
The volunteering vets came from different provinces but chose Mpumalanga for the year-long contract after they completed their studies at the University of Pretoria’s Onderstepoort Veterinary Institutes last year.
They rendered community service, closely monitoring any possible outbreak of diseases of economic importance such as anthrax, rabies, foot and mouth.
The individuals were responsible for vaccinations, de-worming, branding (tattooing) and also attended to pets in the respective municipalities where they were placed.
They received certificates of appreciation.
Dr Ivy Meso (26) from Limpopo was stationed at the Thaba Chweu office in Mashishing.
She said the year-long job experience helped her build relations with local farmers.
“It was a great experience; I enjoyed working with the farmers under my jurisdiction. Some would have a challenge accepting that they had to rely on me, a young woman, to attend to and solve their problems but as times went by, they really gave me the space to do my work,” Meso said.
A new group from the Vets Institute’s class of 2019 is to start its community services in January 2020.
“The CCS Programme is benefiting the province by ensuring the beefing up of manpower in the scares skills field of veterinary services,” Member of the Executive Committee (MEC), Vusi Shongwe, said.