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OIE looks into veterinary education

Paris, 21/04/08 - The challenges of an evolving veterinary education were at the heart of an informal meeting of the Deans of the most important Veterinary Faculties of the United States of America , Canada and Mexico.

The three days meeting was hosted by the OIE in its Headquarters in Paris, at the specific request of the Deans who consider the World Organisation for Animal Health to be one of the important partners of their activities.

The change in gender and the increase of students choosing a career as urban veterinarians versus rural veterinarians or veterinary public health specialists are among the common challenges the faculties have to face nowadays. Also, accreditation procedures for veterinary universities throughout the world are crucial for the harmonisation of the professional skills needed and for the recognition of the importance of the veterinary profession for the society at international level.

The OIE strongly advocates for its Member Countries and Territories to strengthen their Veterinary Services as guarantors of animal health and, by association, of public health. Their performance is directly linked to their quality and thus to their appropriate education and training.

“The OIE has undertaken to produce international standards on the quality in governance of national Veterinary Services and this process cannot leave aside initial and continuous veterinary education”, said OIE Director General, Dr Bernard Vallat in his welcome address. “To host such a high level meeting here at our Headquarters is of great value for OIE' s work and is something that I am personally very grateful for”, he added.

The meeting was the opportunity for the Deans to exchange views on academic courses, especially those oriented to epidemiology and to international careers where it was commonly felt that there was a huge gap to be filled. They also highlighted the need at global level to designate a body able to provide global basic requirements for veterinary education leading to the harmonisation of the skills of veterinarians worldwide. Participating in the discussions, Dr Vallat called on the Dean's attention to a conference that the OIE would organise next year on the topic.

“Evolving veterinary education for a safer world” is an international conference which will take place at OIE's Headquarters in Paris from 12- 14 October 2009 . The main purpose is to reach consensus in order to recommend to the international veterinary community a new veterinary curriculum. This should ensure that future graduates are increasingly able to work in an international environment applying OIE standards for disease surveillance, veterinary public health, food safety and animal welfare.

April 2008