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Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosis: A Missed Opportunity in the Continuum of Care for Veterinarians in Selected Countries in Sub-Sahara Africa

DOI: 10.4236/ojvm.2022.1212017, PP. 218-224

Keywords: Veterinary Diagnosis, Sub-Sahara Africa (SSA), Laboratory, Livestock

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Abstract:

In Africa, sustainable livestock production must address food security, as well as animal disease concerns simultaneously in addition to social aspects. Livestock disease challenges seem to be increasing with one of them being lack of good animal diagnostics services with notable emerging zoonotic diseases which if not correctly diagnosed in animals pose risks to humans. The major livestock hubs in sub-Sahara Africa (SSA) include Uganda, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Nigeria and utilization of diagnostic services by veterinarians in these countries could inform further action by different stakeholders in the SSA region. A cross sectional survey with veterinarians was conducted between January 2022 and February 2022 to determine the number of veterinarians who have submitted samples for veterinary diagnosis, laboratory utilization rates and challenges faced by veterinarians using veterinary labs in sub-Sahara Africa between the period of 2018 and 2022. Methods: This was a cross sectional study, where an online questionnaire was shared with veterinarians through their online social group networks in different countries and data was captured and analyzed. Results: 74% (64/87) of veterinarians reported having submitted a sample to a lab, Government labs were the most utilized at 54%, followed by private labs at 37% and the human health labs recorded 9% utilization rate. The most faced challenge by veterinarians was failing to get samples to the lab because the labs where far (52%) with the least challenge reported being failure to understand the lab results at 3%. Conclusion: Government labs were the most utilized in this period, however notable challenges like failing to get samples to the lab still exist. Veterinary diagnosis is still an underutilized service in sub-Sahara Africa and more measures need to be worked on in terms of sample logistics, capacity building and trainings of both lab personnel and veterinarians in interpretation of results to ensure improved utilization of veterinary diagnostics services.

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