By A. Catley, T. Leyland, J.C. Mariner, D.M.O. Akabwai, B. Admassu, W. Asfaw, G. Bekele, and H. Sh. Hassan (2004). Office international des epizooties revue scientifique et technique 23/1, 225-252
Livestock are a major asset for rural households throughout the developing world and are increasingly regarded as a means of reducing poverty. However, many rural areas are characterised by limited or no accessibility to veterinary services. Economic theory indicates that primary level services can be provided by para-veterinary professionals working as private operators and as an outreach component of veterinary clinics and pharmacies in small urban centres. Experience from the development of community-based animal health worker (CAHW) systems indicates that these workers can have a substantial impact on livestock morbidity and mortality through the treatment or prevention of a limited range of animal health problems. Factors for success include community involvement in the design and implementation of these systems, and involvement of the private sector to supply and supervise CAHWs. Examples of privatised and veterinary supervised CAHW networks are cited to show the considerable potential of this simple model to improve primary animal health services in marginalised areas. An analysis of constraints indicates that inappropriate policies and legislation are a major concern. By referring to the section on the evaluation of Veterinary Services in the OIE (World organisation for animal health) Terrestrial Animal Health Code, the paper proposes guidelines to assist governments in improving the regulation, quality, and co-ordination of privatised, veterinary supervised CAHW systems.