Veterinary services in the Horn of Africa - where are we now?

Pastoralists are marginalised in the Horn of Africa and receive inadequate veterinary services. Under economic structural adjustment programmes, public veterinary services became increasingly ineffective and, in response, community-based NGO programmes were established in some pastoral areas. While these programmes were often considered to be effective, with few exceptions they were small scale, isolated from central government, and based on subsidised systems of drug distribution. Consequently, their sustainability was questionable. Governments now have incentives to improve veterinary services to pastoralists because of new possibilities for increasing livestock exports alongside new concerns about protecting consumers from livestock-related diseases. Current policy and institutional reform is encouraging a greater role for the private sector in service delivery but this is developing slowly, particularly in pastoral areas where future provision is likely to involve public - private partnerships.