Prof. Susan Mbugua
The Kenya Small and Companion Animal Veterinary Association was launched on 30th January 2015. Six executive members were elected on that day. Four more members were coopted in our first meeting on 3rd February 2015. The full committee is as follows:
- Dr. Derick Chibeu – Chairman
- Dr. Allan Elavula – Vice chairman
- Dr. Dhaval Shah – Hon. Treasurer
- Dr. Mohsin Likoniwalla – Assistant Treasurer
- Dr. Lilyan Mathai – Hon. Secretary
- Dr. Susan Kuria- Assistant Secretary
– Dr. James Ombati
– Dr. Willy Mwangi
– Dr. Gabriel Ouma
AFSCAN: A friend indeed
By Prof. Susan Mbugua
Gabriel Varga invited me to the inaugural AFSCAN board meeting in Nairobi in June 2014. The agenda of the meeting interested me a lot. You see, I have taught Small Animal Surgery in the University of Nairobi for many years. The number one frustration the Small Animal Practitioners face is lack of funds. The priority is food security for the people of Africa. Available resources are channeled to food animals and very little to Small Animals. Along comes a body purposefully constituted to address the deficit in Small Animal care in Africa. I was excited!
AFSCAN sponsored my attendance to the WSAVA meeting in Cape Town, South Africa, in September 2014. Besides gaining knowledge from the scientific presentations, I learnt more about AFSCAN and resolved to forge a closer association between the Kenyan veterinary fraternity and AFSCAN. I am spearheading the newly launched, AFSCAN affiliated KESCAVA (Kenya Small and Companion Animal Veterinary Association) as its Chairman. AFSCAN has so far supported us notably in the provision of Continuing Professional Development (CPD). The participants’ turnout has been overwhelming. Even before the KESCAVA launch, WSAVA sponsored a number of Small Animal CPDs in Kenya, through the personal efforts of Lawson Cairns of South Africa and Vijay Varma and Derick Chibeu of Kenya.
The first CPD organized by KESCAVA took place on 20th March 2015 and had 55 participants. KESCAVA has 42 bona fide members so far. We intend to apply for WSAVA membership, in the near future, to enable us to maximize our collaboration for the benefit of members and the African Small Animals.
We look forward to increased collaboration in the following areas:
- CPD facilitation
- Access to online journals
- Student funding in areas of Small Animal Medicine at the core of AFSCAN goals
- Access to reconditioned computers, microscopes and surgical instruments at affordable rates
- Reducing human suffering in Africa that is caused by controllable zoonotic diseases like rabies and helminthiasis
- Any other collaborative venture that may be identified in the future
Some of the participants in the Dermatology CPD held on 20th March 2015 given by Andrew Hillier of the Global Veterinary Dermatology Educat
THE CHANGE AFSCAN HAS BROUGHT TO THE PROFESSION IN KENYA
AFSCAN was launched in June 2014 in Nairobi.
The date started well amid bright sun. It finished in a heavy downpour, which in our African belief, signified blessings.
AFSCAN has been a big blessing for the small animal practice in Kenya. In a country which is not food sufficient, emphasis of any funding is put on food production. Dogs are not for eating in Africa. Rather they are for guarding the homestead even as they are not strictly pets in the western world sense of the word. Few, if any, small animal projects are funded.
AFSCAN and WSAVA came in and sponsored experts to give seminars which have continued to attract more and more participants every time. We have had world experts in Ophthalmology, Cardiology, Dermatology, Clinical Pathology and Internal Medicine. The Kenya Small and Companion Animal Veterinary Association, KESCAVA, would not have afforded to bring them to the country.
Prof. Jill Maddison and Prof. David Church with KESCAVA participants in an Internal Medicine course they gave in March 2016
As a result of this renewed vigor in matters small animals vets have been sensitized about the need to rid our country of rabies. They come out in large numbers during rabies vaccination campaigns. Young children, especially boys, are targeted in animal welfare sensitizations, as they are the ones who spend the most time with dogs.
Boys and their dogs during a rabies vaccination campaign in Kenya
Availing scholarships to do clinical research in small animals has been an added boost for post-graduate students who have opted to research in small animal. Sponsorship to international meetings has given students an opportunity to attend high caliber meetings outside Africa. I was the lucky beneficiary of the 2016 BSAVA scholarship, which allowed me to attend this year’s congress in Birmingham. The 2017 BSAVA beneficiary is also Kenyan and I am excited that he will be exposed to high quality scientific presentations from which I expect him to learn. There is also the annual NAVC scholarship, which has exposed other African participants to American scientific presentations.
AFSCAN members appear to be the main beneficiaries in this association but I hope that the visitors have benefited from their exposure to the difficult conditions we work in and maybe been more appreciative of the advantages offered by the countries in which they live. I also hope they have enjoyed our wildlife and cultural diversity and that they would not hesitate to return if asked to do so.
Long Live the association of KESCAVA with AFSCAN and WSAVA
World Rabies Day 2015 Celebration in Kenya
Due to logistics we celebrated ours over the weekend.
Several counties (we have 47) held rabies awareness public meetings or ‘barazas’. The public was educated on the need to vaccinate their dogs against rabies every year and what to do if bitten by a suspect dog. Free vaccination and neutering was carried out.
KESCAVA joined our vets in Kilifi county at the coast for this exercise. This is a country with many cases of dog and people rabies. Early this month there was a highly publicized case of rabies in a boy who died after a dog bite. Saturday was a CPD day for the vets and on Sunday we set up camp at 11 sites in the county and vaccinated over 1,000 dogs. The local team will continue vaccinating the dogs for free in order to use up the 5,000 doses donated by a local vaccine supplier.
We also spayed and castrated dogs whose owners accepted the offer. The KESCAVA members came prepared to do many more than the 6 castrations and 1 spay that were presented. I am sure we would have a lot more work if we returned next year as the population would have seen the benefit of having their animals neutered by professionals.
We came back home satisfied with a job well done.