Evaluation of community animal health delivery systems in Simanjiro, Tanzania
Livestock Research for Rural Development
Veterinary Investigation Centre, PO Box 1068, Arusha, Tanzania; District Veterinary Office, PO Box 13484, Simanjiro, Tanzania; Tropical Veterinary Services, PO Box 266, Karatu, Tanzania
A survey was carried out to characterise community animal health delivery systems in pastoral communities of Simanjiro, northern Tanzania. This was prompted by the reported high disease challenges, remoteness and long term shortage of formal trained state and private veterinary professional staff. The study was conducted during the period of March 2010 through December 2010. The data were analysed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 17. A total of 88 community animal health workers (CAHWs) from 6, 15 and 36 administrative division, wards and villages, respectively, participated in the survey. The survey revealed that the education level of interviewed CAHWs varied from adult education to certificate (2 years) training in veterinary or animal husbandry and a substantial variation was observed between divisions. Apart from delivering animal / veterinary husbandry services in their respect areas, 83 (95%) of the interviewed CAHWs were reported to be engaged in livestock keeping activities and acknowledged that livestock production (90%) to be their major source of household income. The working relationship and technical link between CAHWs and local government veterinary staff (LFO) was rated to be good. The study established that CAHWs were recognized and respected by the local community for the services they offer. It is, however, seen as an imperative that CAHWs should only operate under the direct supervision of trained and licensed veterinary personnel; receive continuous training and adequate technical support; and require recognition by existing policies, veterinary legislation and laws. Official recognition of CAHWs is long overdue and will be fundamental to facilitate better linkages and information channels between the delivery of community based primary animal health services and government veterinary services and regulatory bodies.