First locally trained vets roam the streets jobless
IN 2014, the University of Namibia in conjunction with the government deemed it fit to establish the School of Veterinary Medicine at UNAM under the Faculty of Agriculture and Natural Resources, which is the first and only veterinary school in Namibia offering a Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine over a period of six years.
The university will soon graduate its first cohort of 17 locally trained veterinarians. The graduates received intensive training in Namibia and at the University of Pretoria for to comply with both the World Organization and the professional requirements of the Namibian Veterinary Council as outlined in the Veterinary Paraprofessionals Act of 2013.
It comes with great shock to just know that after six years the government has not put up any plans to absorb these professionals. The first locally trained veterinary medicine graduates are now left in limbo regarding their employment status. The Ministry of Health and Social Services placed its first locally trained medical graduates in 2016, preference was given to absorb those medical graduates into the industry, but the same has not been extended to the first locally trained veterinarians. In addition, late last year the same ministry managed to create about 4,612 positions at its facilities throughout the country for medical officers.
There is surely not enough space for us in private practice and on top of that people there are people taking advantage of us. How will you take it if a practice owner offers you N$2000 per month after studying for a professional degree for six years? We would all want to start our own practices but we do not have capital to put up council-approved facilities that we can operate from.
We are not blaming the government that we had studied and don’t have jobs but it does not make sense for the first graduates to have no jobs. Meanwhile, UNAM is still training veterinarians and there are first-year students in 2020. We are just wondering how the situation will look in six years.
Of course, we are proud to be the first locally trained veterinarians and strongly believe that we have the necessary skills to practise in our beloved country. We also want to make significant differences in our profession and our country’s development, this profession assists the Namibian GDP by exporting meat products to developed countries e.g. E.U., China and U.S.A., which in turn contributes to Vision 2030.
The fact that there is no employment for the recent graduates leaves the question as to why the government and the Namibian Veterinary Council approved a school if there is no need. We believe they approved it on the grounds that there is a need for veterinarians, if not then we are calling on the government to audit its endorsement and correct that mistake because if that is the case the school does not serve a purpose. In the event that the principal graduates cannot be employed then we are calling for the school’s closure with prompt impact since it doesn’t fulfil any need. The government and UNAM and the students invested time, energy and money.
We strongly believe that there is a dire need for UNAM and the government to go back to the drawing board and think again, because the country cannot be training veterinarians for the streets. Our country is in dire need of veterinary services. Help us help out nation.