Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) has made history again by graduating ten (10) pioneer veterinary doctors trained in Ghana by KNUST’s School of Veterinary Medicine (SVM). The new veterinary doctors were sworn in by the Registrar of the Veterinary Council of Ghana, E. A. Mark Hansen at the 1st School of Veterinary Medicine Oath Swearing and Induction Ceremony.
The Dean of the School, Dr. Raphael D. Folitse, said the new doctors had chosen a profession to improve the lives of animals and human beings and to keep the world healthy and safe. He said they were joining the profession at a very crucial time when the awareness for veterinary services in Ghana was very low and a time when the demand for animal health and public health services had never been higher with severe shortage of veterinary doctors in Ghana.
Dr. Folitse stressed the fact that as a country we could never have good human health if we did not have good animal health. He added that veterinary medicine was at the forefront of issues facing the world such as food safety, food security, conservation of the environment, emerging infectious diseases and non-infectious diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disorders, diabetes that affect both man and animals.
He revealed that 70% of infectious diseases that affect human beings originate from animals which threaten the health and well-being of animal and human populations and contribute to significant economic losses to society. He therefore appealed to government to invest in the training of veterinary doctors to ensure quality animal health service delivery. He advised the new doctors to learn from their experienced colleagues and to work with veterinary technicians in serving Ghana.
Professor William Otoo Ellis, Vice-Chancellor, stated that the establishment of the SVM showcased a means of addressing the challenges of the 21st century which demanded pragmatic and innovative approaches to solving disease challenges. He noted that quality veterinary education was an important factor in efficient veterinary service delivery and it was the aim of the University to develop the school to the level of world renowned veterinary schools.
Prof Ellis used the occasion to appeal to groups, institutions, corporate bodies and the government to help realize the University’s aspiration to complete the Veterinary School Complex which is still in its first phase.
Honourable Dr. Hanna Louisa Bisiw, Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, stated that veterinary education in Ghana had been at the technician level for decades. The few Ghanaian veterinarians have been trained in Eastern Europe, Cuba, Nigeria and Kenya.
She said currently, Ghana had less than 200 qualified professional veterinarians for a population of 2.6 million tropical livestock units. With the establishment of KNUST School of Veterinary Medicine, Ghanaians are assured that the Veterinary Council’s estimated requirement of 800 veterinarians will soon be met.
Honourable Dr. Bisiw advised the veterinarians to stay and practice in Ghana to salvage the profession from dying in the country.