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September 2016 - December 2016


Mission: AFSCAN is a global initiative which facilitates capacity building in the African veterinary community to enhance quality in small companion animal medicine with a One Health perspective
An initiative of    supported by 

Dear AFSCAN friends and supporters,

When we launched the AFSCAN initiative and I wrote the foreword of the first newsletter just over two years ago, some may have thought I was being optimistic in what we were trying to achieve. Today, I am delighted to report that we have actually exceeded our original goals. Our efforts are making a real difference to standards of companion animal veterinary care in Africa and we are looking ahead to an exciting future as AFSCAN continues to develop.
2016 has seen many highlights. Here are just a few:

  • Thanks to the dynamic leadership offered by their AFSCAN Ambassadors, the five AFSCAN countries, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda, are making dramatic progress in developing their associations and networks both locally and internationally
  • As evidence of this, we were delighted to welcome the Small Animal Veterinary Association, Nigeria (SAVAN) into WSAVA membership in 2015 and the Kenya Small and Companion Animal Veterinary Association (KESCAVA) during this year’s WSAVA World Congress. Namibia, Tanzania and Uganda are making good progress towards this goal.
  • Back in April, we were proud to make the first awards of our Scientific and Studentship grants. We are delighted to be increasing the number of grants we offer for 2017, thanks to the Petplan Charitable Trust and the Swiss association.
  • In the area of veterinary education, thanks to Vetstream and KRUUSE, we are increasing the availability of distance learning modules and online webinars and we have also donated the first IT equipment, via the charity Computers4Africa, to support distance learning
  • Thanks to our colleagues at BSAVA and NAVC, we were able to bring AFSCAN scholars to world-class meetings in UK and USA so that they could meet global leaders of the profession, attend lectures from leading speakers and learn more about the organisation of CE events.
  • With the help of our supporters, we are starting to reach out across the continent and planning new projects to support companion animal veterinary care in a number of new African countries
  • Meanwhile, we continue to promote the importance of the global fight against rabies, supporting Mission Rabies in its excellent work to help eradicate this dreadful disease in Africa
  • Just a few weeks ago, during our annual AFSCAN Board and Ambassadors meeting in Namibia, we announced several new exciting initiatives, including:
    • a project in Kenya involving veterinarians using a tablet-based app to collect demographic and health-related data from dogs visiting veterinary practices
    • a ‘twinning program’ offering African veterinarians the opportunity to partner with a veterinary hospital in the USA. 

Overall, it has been a fantastic year for AFSCAN and I must thank a number of individuals and organisations for their contribution:

Firstly, I would like to thank the Namibian AFSCAN Ambassador Dr Anselm Voigts for hosting our annual meeting.  He did a wonderful job in conjunction with the Namibian Annual Veterinary Conference and it was an honour to join him and his colleagues and to share our plans and ideas with them. I also thank the other AFSCAN Ambassadors for the leadership they have shown again this year and for the 
example they set to veterinarians across Africa.

Of course, I must also thank my colleagues on the AFSCAN Board, who work tirelessly to support the initiative and have remained committed throughout.  We simply could not do it without them. 

I also thank all of our supporters and sponsors, particularly 
KRUUSE, which has increased the help it gives us this year and is enabling us to make more rapid progress in meeting our education goals.

And, finally, I must, in particular, thank our main sponsor, Zoetis.  It has supported us generously from the outset and is a true partner of the veterinary profession.

With the help and support you are giving, the AFSCAN Board, together with AFSCAN Ambassadors, are building a bright future for the veterinary care of companion animals in Africa. It’s a long journey but our team grows ever stronger and, each time we meet, we see new opportunities to help us along the way. 2017 will be another great year! 
Thank you for your support and I wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy and successful 2017.

Last REMINDER- the second year of our AFSCAN Scientific Research Grants is open till 31. December 2016

In 2016, we are offering up to five AFSCAN Studentships. All applications will be considered through a formal peer-review process with potential projects reviewed for scientific validity. The final decision will be made by the AFSCAN Project Board. (On the photo you can see winner from the last year Julius Luvanga)

Applications are now open and the closing date is 31 December 2016. Read more here.

AFSCAN Announces New Initiatives For 2017

Namibia 27-29 October 2016, the African Small Companion Animal Network (AFSCAN) announced two new initiatives for 2017 as part of its work to drive up standards of veterinary care for companion animals in Africa. The new initiatives were announced during a meeting of the AFSCAN Board and Ambassadors from the five participating countries, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda. The meeting was hosted by the Veterinary Association of Namibia (VAN) and took place prior to its annual congress at Swakopmund. The initiatives are:

  • A pilot project in Kenya using which will involve veterinarians in using a tablet-based app to collect demographic and health-related data from dogs visiting veterinary practices. The information will provide a valuable baseline perspective on canine health in Kenya and has the future potential to be extended across the AFSCAN countries. This project is being supported by the UK Petplan Charitable Trust.
  • A ‘twinning program’ that will offer African veterinarians the opportunity to partner with a veterinary hospital in the USA. The project aims to provide a long-term mentoring relationship for the African veterinarian and the opportunity for the American partner to be directly involved in international veterinary development. This project is being supported by Zoetis. Read the full story here.


 AFSCAN in Nigeria
by Dr. Olatunji Nasir

The AFSCAN Project has been of tremendous benefit to small animal practitioners in Nigeria. Even though it stole into our lives in a very confounding way by my invitation to the inaugural meeting in Nairobi in 2014, it has become a veritable instrument in the advancement of our practice. The project actual railroaded us to form the Small Animal Veterinary Association, Nigeria (SAVAN) from the vestiges of a dormant Veterinary Clinicians Forum which was last active 15 years before the coming of AFSCAN.

Upon the formation of SAVAN, we were also warmly welcomed to World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) in September, 2015 in Bangkok, Thailand as an associate member of the prestigious world body. This has come with a lot of benefits to a lot of our members. One of us, Dr Tunji Nasir was offered a travelling scholarship to the NAVC in Orlando 2016 and Dr Tayo Omobowale also won the inaugural AFSCAN research grant to the tune of about 10,000 USD. 

Our inclusion in the global community of small animal veterinarians has afforded us interactions in very diverse areas and exposed us to opportunities therefrom.

Currently, two of our clinics in Nigeria will soon be twinned with siblings in the United States of America which in essence would serve to boost our technical capacities in the delivery of our services, offering opportunities for further international collaborations.

AFSCAN has also offered tremendous opportunities to us in the area of continuing education. 
Initially it was Vetfolio, now it is Vetstream which allows exposure of our members to the best online education anywhere in the world.

Additionally, Kruuse is planning to engage our members in a peculiar continuing education in form of Webinars that would be of benefit.

We are also being offered opportunities of collaboration with "Mission Rabies" which will afford us the exposure in planning a structured rabies advocacy in our communities.

With all these opportunities abundant as a result of AFSCAN membership, we have on our own embarked on a series of extension and publicity programs especially with budding veterinarians by way of organising mentorship programs for students of veterinary faculties in universities in Nigeria. Members have also been meeting quite regularly, physically at quarterly meetings and are also interacting on social media platforms with the sole advantage of better communication which has affected the practices very positively.

On the whole, belonging to AFSCAN has really opened a lot of opportunities to the generality of our members for better service delivery.

Currently, we have 223 members and this is growing by the day as more people are convinced of the capacity of SAVAN to help their practices with innovative ideas that we have unleashed in the clinical space. SAVAN is currently being run by the following:

1.      Dr Kunle Abiade                President

2.      Dr Olatunji Nasir               Vice President

3.      Dr Bolu Sarumoh              Secretary

4.      Nedum Azeez                    Treasurer

5.      Nureni O. Funsho              Publicity Facilitator

A Fun(d) Run For a Good Cause 

The WSAVA Foundation’s Fun(d) run has become a positive tradition to the WSAVA conferences. But do you know by signing up, you are not only helping yourself with a fun and healthy experience?
Fun(d) Run in Cartagena, September 2016
How many times in your life do you have the opportunity to meet with friends and colleagues in our industry at a Columbian beach for a 3 or 5 km run along the shore? That was the experience we – a big group of participants at WSAVA 2016 – had in Cartagena this September. 

The weather was fantastic, and all the people were happy – talking and mingling together. We felt we were one big team: “Those who manage to get up early for the Fun(d) run while all other were sleeping” J
We had the
count down for the start and off we went. Wauo! What a beautiful experience running (or walking) at the shores of Cartagena this morning, while the sun was coming up. After the run, many of us took the opportunity for a sea bath to cool down. A perfect start of the day with friends and colleagues! We left the beach energised and with another unique experienced from WSAVA Cartagena.
More than just a run
This could be the end of this short article, but it is important to say that the Fun(d) run is also a way to fundraise and thus support the fight against rabies in Africa, which is being led by Mission Rabies and local AFSCAN teams. 100 Children die from rabies each day across the world – a number that must come down! For our
company, and many other companies, it is a natural – and also fairly easy - thing to support projects like AFSCAN and activities like the Fun(d) Run. However, I will use this opportunity to give a warm and big thank you to all the individual volunteers who help carry out all the practical stuff to make activities like the Fun(d) Run happen. Your support is priceless.
Rumors says that another Fun(d) Run is being planned for WSAVA in Copenhagen 2017. If you are there, remember to sign up for a fun experience with a good cause. That is at least what I’ll do!
Martin Lassen 
Commercial Director

We Wish You Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
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