By Daniel John Namwini
The first 12 final year veterinary students from the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) who went for a study visit to Scotland and are set to graduate in December this year, have recently returned to Malawi.
In an interview with the Malawi News Agency (Mana) at Kamuzu International Airport (KIA), the students’ representative, Peter Mwale said they participated in a field trip and a two day workshop at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.
“The field trip and workshop on essential skills for veterinary practice included a visit to the animal hospital at The Royal (Dick) school of veritanary studies,” Mwale said.
Mwale added that apart from vet related work, the students had an opportunity to meet with members of the Scottish parliament at their chambers in Edinburgh and took part in a question and answer session to share information about successes and constraints in Malawi’s veterinary profession.
LSPCA and Royal school of veritanary studies for the prevention of cruelty to animals (RSPCA), Inglis vets, SMP member, and Adam Tjolle among others awarded a grant by independent vet care to all cost of the trip to Scotland.
LSPCA Executive Director, Lieza Swennen said the Bachelor of Veterinary Science is Luanar’s youngest degree programme and the vet school is the youngest in Africa.
“Previously, Malawi’s veterinarians were trained outside Malawi which is obviously very expensive and limited the number of veterinarians entering into the profession in the country” she said.
She said to celebrate Malawi’s success, the LSPCA and Inglis Vets Scotland, awarded the students and their professor, Tefera Melaku, a once in a lifetime trip to visit veterinary practices, the University of Edinburgh and farms and fisheries in Scotland.
She pointed out that Adam Tjolle, who played a significant role in establishing the LSPCA in Lilongwe, put together a team to welcome the students and plan their three week-long stay.
According to Lieza Swennen, the organization provides early clinical induction for surgery practice and practical field work through village consultations to all students studying veterinary medicine and animal health at both Bunda and Natural Resources College campuses.
“This ensured that students have access to state-of-the-art imaging equipment and a fully equipped theatre to gain the necessary practical skills to advance as practicing veterinarians,” she pointed out.