The Government has launched a special identification card for all licensed veterinarians and para-veterinarians, to weed out quack practitioners.
According to the commissioner of animal health at the agriculture ministry, Dr Anna Adenum Okurut, the scheme is important in reforming the work of veterinary professionals.
She said this was a big milestone for the profession of veterinary medicine and as a sector.
“Many quack veterinarians had infiltrated the profession. Every veterinary and paraveterinarian must now acquire a special identification card,” Okurut said while launching the card at the Uganda Veterinary Association in Wandegeya, Kampala recently.
“From today, we shall have all veterinarians registered. Communities and farmers are free to ask anybody who comes claiming to be a veterinarian to present their identification cards. They should identify themselves so that you are sure that you are getting services from a genuine person.”
The commissioner said all practitioners were aware of the ongoing registration to acquire licences.
She added that all veterinarians have been given a grace period of one year (starting this month) to register and acquire their identity cards. Registration is being conducted by the Uganda Veterinary Board.
Established by an Act of Parliament (The Veterinary Surgeons Act 1958, Cap 277), the board’s major mandate is to ensure that animal health services are offered by qualified, registered and licensed veterinary professionals under their regulatory supervision.
The board also monitors and enforces standards of veterinary training institutions, as well as the practice and professional conduct of veterinary professionals.
During the launch, the president of the Uganda Veterinary Board, Dr Daniel Kasibule, said the card will solve many issues that have been affecting their profession, especially now that the Government is implementing the Parish Development Model.
“It is not only for the veterinarians, but also for the communities, farmers and the entire country. This card is meant to identify the genuine veterinarians who are dealing with drugs and treatments of animals. It is going to help our doctors who are doing work to save lives of animals, working in veterinary preventive health and animal production,” he said.
Kasibule said once a farmer has a smartphone, they can scan the QR code feature on the card and it will immediately display the details of the holder, including the name, qualification, year of graduation and area of service.
“This will help any person to know whom they are dealing with,” he added.
Kasibule said the lack of identification for veterinarians had greatly affected the image of their profession.
“When an imposter treats an animal and something goes wrong, the client will label all veterinarians as incompetent. This has dented our image as an association and profession,” he added.
He said the livestock industry has lost many animals and, as result, farmers had lost confidence in the veterinary sector.
Kasibule said those eligible for the cards must be members of the association and must be licensed. He noted that, currently, the association has 1,200 registered members. Of these, about 300 are women.
“But there are about 10,000 veterinarians and paraveterinarians out there,” he noted.
Agriculture ministry’s Dr Anna Adenum Okurut, further explained that quacks can easily be eliminated since the card has a special feature. The card has to be renewed every three years. Apart from the name, title, ID number and issuance and expiry date, the card has a QR code. The commissioner noted that any person who has a smartphone can scan it and access all the details of the cardholder. “It has a QR code and, most of us, including the farmers, have smartphones, where you can download the QR code scanner. You can scan the card of any veterinarian for their details, ” she said. She noted that the move will help to weed out those abusing the profession.
Story filed by Jeff Andrew Lule