School of Veterinary Medicine (SoVM) 3rd Year Students visit the Okonjima Nature Reserve and the AfriCat Foundation.
The Veterinary Faculty of the University of Namibia (UNAM) is now in its 5th year of existence.
Every year, according to their curriculum, the students have to be exposed, shown, learn and perform certain veterinary procedural skills. All skills are inline with required ‘Day-1 competency’ expected from a newly qualified veterinarian.
The AfriCat Foundation with its associated Veterinary Clinic is proud to be involved and associated with the SoVM.
Last year we hosted three different classes to UNAM’s 3rd & 4th year students.
This year the 3rd year veterinary students were exposed to wildlife work, all in line with the compulsory curriculum section.
The 3rd year student class was hosted by the AfriCat Foundation Veterinary Clinic.
They were shown and taught the basics
- In surgical skills relevant to their daily work routine
- Basic reproductive examination and procedures
- Basic simple bandaging skills, applicable to companion and production animals
- Basic essential hygiene routines for surgical procedures and surgical instrumentation
- Above that, they had enough time on their own to work and perfect the shown skills with confidence under the watch-full eyes of present lecturers
At the end of March 2018, this was again the start of a series of visits to the AfriCat Foundation/ Okonjima Nature Reserve for the 3rd year class of the SoVM.
Not only were the students introduced to the wildlife sector in general (where does the wildlife industry fit into the national economy, agricultural sector, tourist sector, employment scope, responsibilities – ethical, professional and welfare aspect of a wildlife veterinarian), but the students also had a chance to look with hands-on experience the specific aspects of a wildlife veterinarian.
The outcomes of this field trip were:
- To stimulate group coherence and team work
- A familiarization of conservation and wildlife principles seen holistically
- Park management (open or closed system) with possible rectifying measures constantly to be kept in mind
- Human-wildlife conflict management
- Getting an insight of some interesting real-time wildlife procedures for that day (not planned), like immobilization of a brown hyena, springbok, impala and a cheetah for translocation after an accident
- Handling of and loading remote delivered projectors, associated with all relevant safety measures, all constantly been monitored and observed by a competent person
- Basic handling of wildlife medicines.
It was enlightening to see the groups enthusiasm in general, despite sometimes real time-line pressure put on them to reflect realistic work pressure.
Every student should see and understand conservation and wildlife living together in harmony.
In the years to come, some of these qualified veterinarians will be in a decision making position. Understanding the basics, it is expected from them to judge factually, rationally and objectively.