Vet Services Collapsing

Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Agric Minister

Veterinary Services, a directorate under the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), is on the verge of collapse, as past governments have failed to recruit professionals who were trained to contribute their expertise toward the socio-economic development of Ghana.

Currently, only 54 veterinary professionals instead of the nationwide requirement of 210 officers are providing services in all the 10 regions of Ghana, with the Central Region lagging behind with only one professional instead of the expected 16 professionals, according to an official document.

The situation makes the efforts of the directorate to live up to expectation extremely difficult, as it is unable to effectively and efficiently control illegal acts at Ghana’s borders, particularly against the importation of diseased animals into the country.

Two populous regions in the country, Greater Accra and Ashanti, have veterinary staff strengths of seven and five instead of the required 27 and 16 respectively, while Eastern Region has three professionals instead of 16, with the Northern Region having seven instead of 32 officers.

While the Western Region has three veterinary professionals in lieu of 16, the Brong-Ahafo Region tops it with six instead of 23. The Upper West and East Regions have two professionals each in lieu of 14, with the Volta Region having four in lieu of the required 15 professionally-trained staff.

The remaining 15 veterinary professionals of the directorate work with other establishments, with 11 at the directorate’s head office, two at the wildlife and one at the fish health. These need 24 professionals to be effective and efficient.

However, checks by DAILY GUIDE reveal that about 50 veterinary professionals trained at the Kwame University of Science and Technology (KNUSTI) and the University of Ghana, Legon, have been sitting at home since 2014, waiting to be employed.

It is feared that the outbreak of any of the zoonotic diseases like bird flu, rabies, anthrax and Ebola in the country will put Ghanaians at health risk, considering the poor human resource situation of the Veterinary Service Directorate under the Agric Ministry.

FROM James Quansah, Kumasi