Counties urged to hire more ‘livestock doctors’
The Kenya Veterinary Paraprofessional Association has accused the county governments of not hiring its members despite the huge shortage of livestock doctors in the devolved units.
The association said counties were relying on the vet staff they found in office, most of whom have retired leaving a skeleton of personnel to handle livestock health matters in the devolved units.
The association said the shortage of vets in the counties had given room to quacks to thrive and exploit farmers.
“The 47 governors should start hiring professionally trained vets, even if it means doing it in small numbers, because farmers are suffering due to poor services given by understaffed personnel in counties,” said Peter Ngugi, the Laikipia County KVPA coordinator.
The KVPA national chairman, John Ngigi urged Agriculture Cabinet Secretary, Peter Munya to move with speed and gazette the Kenya Veterinary Board to bring sanity in the livestock health sector.
The chairman said absence of a gazetted board had given room for quacks to flourish in the country. Ngigi said the members of the board were selected a while ago but the CS has failed to gazette the team for it to be officially in office.
“Quacks are thriving because the board that is supposed to ensure discipline is maintained in the sector is yet to be gazette by the CS,” the KVPA chairman said.
He added: “In the absence of the board, things are not moving in the veterinary sector, inspectors are made powerless because even if they arrest a quack they have nowhere to take him for disciplinary action.
“Agrovet shops are being opened all over but inspectors cannot check on their credibility.”
The two spoke at the end of two-day training for KVPA members held at the Nyahururu PCEA church hall at the weekend.
The training organized by the Kenya Veterinary Para-professional Association and Kenya Veterinary Board is to equip the vets with knowledge to handle emerging treatment challenges in the livestock sector.
“Veterinary is a devolved function but counties have failed to embrace the vets thus causing livestock farmers to get substandard services,” Ngugi said.
Ngugi said counties should employ the youthful vets to replace those leaving county employment through retirement or attrition. He said counties are still relying on the aging team of vets who don’t go for refresher training like the one held in Nyahururu.
“Many of them have retired leaving a skeleton team to handle livestock health issues. When there is an outbreak of disease the county vets get overwhelmed, thus creating room for quacks to exploit farmers,” Ngugi said.
The Nyahururu training was attended by 500 vets drawn from all counties.