A successful year of State Vets and PDMA Partnership

The PDMA has reported several times during the year about the partnerships that it is fostering with the Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF). The partnership was also extended to the Provincial Heads to ensure adequate engagement of the Provincial State Vets. It is a proud moment as the agency takes a look at the most successful aspect of this journey, the training of state vets on poultry. This initiative has seen 18 State Vets benefiting immensely from the training and being able to cope with poultry related issues much more efficiently.

Let us also take this moment to that the Onderstepoort Poultry Section, Drs Buks Wandrag and Peter Smith and their team for being invaluable partners, through providing the initial refresher course for the state vets. Also for providing the resources required to undertake this quality training service. This is also an opportunity to thank all those private vets who gave their time to providing mentorship to the state vets. Their participation enhanced the training through exposure to real field problems that farmers deal with on a daily basis.

Due to the high number of state vets from certain provinces, it was not possible to have a mentor for each state vet. In order to ensure that each state vet gets an opportunity to participate in more than just the refresher course, contact sessions were organise in partnership with Avimune and Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (GDARD). The contact sessions were designed as case discussions on Avian Influenza and Salmonella. The rational was to create real-life problems for handling these controlled diseases in the field. As both government and industry has responsibilities when it comes to dealing with controlled diseases, it was essential to have participation from both.

The contact sessions were a success thanks to the commitment of the partners, in particular Dr Shahn Bisschop and his team of veterinarians at Avimune and to the GDARD, specifically Drs Deryn Petty and Peter Geertsma for giving up their time to provide their valuable input and to provide the benefit of their years of experience in working with controlled diseases within government services.

The success of this year’s programme has motivated the agency to organise the next group of state vets to benefit from this training. The next training sessions are scheduled for the first three months of 2014 and will take a similar shape as this year’s training with minor improvements on this year’s programme. The target for 2014 is 21 state vets, and this is an achievable target judging from the commitments that has been received thus far from the provinces.

In order to keep the current momentum going, the agency plans to hold 2 symposia that with involved the 2013 and 2014 trained state vets and the private poultry vets. The focus of these symposia will be case discussions on diseases of importance and also looking at research updates and identifying areas that need more research. This will be the perfect platform for researchers, state vets and private vets to share their experiences and knowledge as well as crafting new ways of working together to fight some of the devastating poultry diseases. It will also be an opportunity to stop some of the potentially devastating diseases from getting out of hand.

It is the vision of the agency to build the trust between the state and the industry to be able to work towards the same goal, which is all about Protecting the National Flock. This will ensure food security and that the industry continues to strive to produce safe products for the consumers.

From the PDMA and SAPA, a big thank you to all of you who made the 2013 state vets training programme a success.