12 Oct 2022 (Bhutan) – As National Veterinary Services (VS) play a critical role in protecting animal health and welfare and public health, it is imperative that the VS has a veterinary workforce with sufficient numbers and appropriate competencies. Therefore, at the request from Bhutan’s government, a national workshop was conducted from 10 to 12 October 2022 to introduce World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH, founded as OIE) initiatives and tools being piloted for systemically assessing and planning the veterinary workforce needs of the country. These included recognising a “key enabling environment” and drafting a way forward for workforce development.
was conducted to introduce WOAH initiatives and tools being piloted for systemically assessing and planning the veterinary workforce needs of the country.
Restitution of group work findings
The workshop was opened by Dr Tashi Yangzome, Director of Department of Livestock (WOAH delegate) who was appreciative of WOAH’s initiative and looked forward to a tangible outcome. It was attended by a target group representing key stakeholder groups – the majority from the Department of Livestock (DoL) and the Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority, and others from the Royal University of Bhutan, the College of Natural Resources (VPP Training Institute), the Royal Civil Service Commission of Bhutan (RCSC – the government civil servant employer), and the National Statistics Bureau (the occupational standard setting organisation – Bhutan Standard Classification of Occupation, BSCO). Also present were members of farmer/producer associations, community groups, private sector representatives, and members of the veterinary association of Bhutan. In total, 26 local participants attended the workshop.
The workshop was conducted with experts’ support from Dr Gert-Jan Duives, VPP expert from the Netherlands, Dr Miftahul Barbaruah, VPP expert from India, and Dr David Sherman from CBD, WOAH HQ. Workshop themes centred around raising awareness on veterinary workforce development. In attendance were key relevant stakeholders; the workshop was then followed by participatory technical sessions on veterinary workforce legislation and regulation, workforce assessment and planning, and developing workforce strategy leading to a way forward and an action plan.
The workshop delivery included:
The country team came up with a set of proposals on a way forward at the end of the workshop. This was presented at the closing session attended by Mr Thinley Namgyel, Bhutan’s Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, and Director of the Department of Livestock.
The workshop was followed by another training workshop also in Bhutan, organised by WOAH and relevant national ministries on veterinary paraprofessionals (VPPs) competency and curriculum guidelines (from 13-14 October 2022).