Animal Health and Production

Livestock plays an important role in the social, cultural and economic environment of Pacific Island communities. Indeed many, of the important social and cultural events in island life cannot be properly carried out without the slaughter and presentation of livestock in sufficient numbers. The Animal Health and Production thematic team works together in the Pacific region to develop prosperous, efficient and sustainable animal health and production systems, producing healthy animals and safe products for food security and income generation.

SPC trains Fiji Paravets
Monday, 22 September 2014 10:54

Brucellosis testing practical on cattle’sAnimal diseases and lack of proper livestock production  management skills are major constraints to livestock production and food security in the region. These matters need urgent attention, as they can affect farmers’ productivity, income and health. With the continuing lack of qualified veterinarians in the region, including in Fiji, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), has developed a distance education paravet training course based on – “the SPC Introductory Paravet Training Course”. This course is designed for animal health and production workers in the field who are first contacts to farmers needing assistance.

The SPC course is a 16-week distance learning, hands-on, practical training course. As well as theory, the trainees are required to undertake field activities and attend tutorial sessions.  Veterinarians and senior livestock officers, who are paravets themselves, are assigned the role of local tutors and are tasked with the day-to-day running of the training at their respective localities or duty stations. The course is composed of 12 units, covering all aspects of animal health, animal production, zoonosis and biosecurity. The last week of the course is a summer school, when the trainees take part in practical sessions – clinical manipulations and handling of locally available animals including sheep, pigs and cattle – and theory revision.

For competency assessment purposes, the course consists of three assignments and a one week summer school after the end of the 16-week course, during which trainees are assessed for their practical skills by SPC and local vets.  Final assessment comprises an oral and a written exam at the end of the week.

This year, SPC, in collaboration with the Fiji Ministry of Agriculture, conducted a paravet training course from 7 May to 5 September for thirty-two livestock officers from the Animal Health and Production Division.  Of the 32 participants, 15 were females. The officers were selected from their respective fields of livestock production, livestock research and livestock extension services in the Northern, Western and Central divisions.

Paravet students identifying tools

Paravet's summer school in Nadave

The course ended on 29 August and the summer school was held the following week (1–5 September). The summer school practical sessions were held at the Koronivia Research Station and the classroom sessions on theory were held at the Nadave Centre for Appropriate Technology Development (CATD). The final assessments, including oral and written exams, were conducted on 5th September, 2014 at Nadave CATD.

Blood-testing a sheep

Teeth clipping on piglets

A participant, Ms Maria Narayan, said “Paravet training has helped me gain more hands-on experience and improved my skills. I now know what techniques to use when approached by farmers who require assistance for their sick animals.”

Comments from the tutors indicate the course was well organised for each of the divisions, although there were also challenges, especially organising tutorial sessions that required trainees to be brought together in one location. Other challenges include logistics for transportation, unavailability of trainees at pre-planned tutorial dates, and lack of field case studies and training materials.

SPC trainers commended this batch of trainees, who showed a very high standard of performance in the competency assessment. This isa reflection of the very committed and dedicated local tutors.

This training was funded by the Fiji Ministry of Agriculture and coordinated by the SPC Animal Health and Production Section as part of the cost-sharing partnership that SPC wants to encourage for the sustainability of the paravet training programme in the region.

There are plans for more training for Fiji's livestock officers, especially those newly recruited into government service.

For more information, please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it on + 679 3370733 -- Alternatively, you can contact the This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Photo source 1 & 2: Elenoa Salele
Photo source 3, 4 & 5: Dr. Sandy McLachlan


PRIPPP Paravet TrainingSwimming pigs