As part of the USAID/BHA-funded project on community animal health workers (CAHWs) that we are implementing with WOAH (founded as OIE), a case study was performed by our member, VSF Belgium, to assess key success and failure factors of current CAHW programmes in Niger.
After several weeks of field visits and stakeholders’ interviews across the country, a final validation workshop was held on July 19th and 20th in Niamey, Niger. This event was the opportunity to present field findings and discuss lessons learned and recommendations to improve the sustainability of CAHW services in country.
The event gathered more than 30 participants: CAHWs, private veterinarians, local veterinary services, livestock keeper and veterinary associations, technical and financial partners and central stakeholders were invited to share their views on the current situation nationwide and propose key recommendations through group exercises and plenary discussions.
CAHWs are officially recognized in Niger since 2015 and allowed to operate under the SVPP model (SVPP: service vétérinaire privé de proximité or proximity private veterinary service) in which a network of CAHWs is working under the responsibility of a private veterinarian. CAHWs benefit from access to quality veterinary medicines and referral advice, while the private vets expand their client base and provide services in areas that they could not reach alone.
20 years after the implementation of the first SVPP in the country (under the impulse of VSF Belgium and its local partners), this workshop was the opportunity to take stock of the approach, gathering actors who took part in the earliest stages of the model. While the SVPP is now covering 43 of the 63 departments in Niger, various challenges around ensuring quality of CAHW services were identified during the workshop and will certainly be at the heart of future recommendations.
This article was made possible through support provided by the Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, U.S. Agency for International Development, under the terms of Award No. 720BHA21IO00330 “Strengthening the enabling environment for Community Animal Health Workers (CAHWs) through development of competency and curricula guidelines”. This award is implemented by the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH, founded as OIE) in collaboration with Vétérinaires Sans Frontières International (VSF-Int). The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Agency for International Development.