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April 27, 2016

New Veterinary Research Projects in Africa Support AFSCAN Mission

AFSCAN dog

Two academics, a student, and one of the world’s most distinguished veterinarians are embarking on four separate research projects to promote small animal health and fight rabies in Africa. These projects are all being undertaken in conjunction with the African Small Companion Animal Network (AFSCAN). AFSCAN was co-founded by Zoetis, the World Small Animal Veterinary Association Foundation (WSAVA) and other animal health organizations in 2014 to advance standards of veterinary care across Africa and to help combat rabies.

Three Winners Named in Inaugural African Animal Health Award

Two academics and a student in the veterinary field recently won a new award, given by AFSCAN, to promote veterinary research, training, and development in sub-Saharan Africa, especially as it relates to small companion animals.

The first award, the AFSCAN Research Award, is offered to academics working at veterinary schools in Africa. The winners receive grants to fund their own local clinical research project. Two winners were chosen this year out of the eleven applicants received. The winners are:

  • Dr. Temidayo Omobowale from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. Dr. Omobowale’s project is “Molecular Characterization of Canine Parvovirus-2 Viruses Circulating in Dogs in Nigeria.”
  • Dr Abdul Katakweba from the Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania. Dr. Katakweba’s project is “Surveillance of Canine Leptospirosis and Associated Carrier Animals in Urban and Rural Dogs in Morogoro, Tanzania.”

The second award, the AFSCAN Studentship Award, is offered to fourth- or fifth-year undergraduate students at veterinary schools in Africa. The winner is given a grant to fund his or her participation in a six- to eight-week laboratory research project about the health of companion animals in Africa. This year’s winner is:

  • Julius Luvanga, a fourth year veterinary student at the Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania. Mr. Luvanga’s project is “Haematological Values of Apparently Healthy African Dogs in Tanzania.”

The AFSCAN Award winners were selected by the Scientific Advisory Committee of the WSAVA Charitable Foundation, which runs AFSCAN.

Dr. Gabriel Varga, Director of Business Operations for Zoetis North Europe region and Chairman of the AFSCAN Board, said: “We were delighted to see such a range of projects submitted for our consideration this year and wish all of the recipients good luck with their projects.”

Renowned Veterinarian Joins in Fight against Rabies

Dr. Marian Horzinek might be best known for his work in establishing the Vaccination Guidelines Group of WSAVA and his long career in veterinary virology. His most recent accolade was becoming the first veterinarian named as a Fellow of the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS), a center for innovative research in South Africa.

As part of his fellowship, Dr. Horzinek has announced his research project will support AFSCAN’s work to eliminate rabies.

“There is already a range of rabies-prevention initiatives in place, so my objective for STIAS is to research the situation in Africa, liaising with those already involved in rabies control; assessing the need for further study and addressing the conditions required to achieve regional or even global elimination,” said Dr. Horzinek. “The AFSCAN project is already making great progress so I intend to assist its training and educational programmes.”

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