- Charles Sturt University’s Gulbali Institute launches new courses upskilling animal health workersin the Pacific
- Participants were trained on new courses hosted on the EdApp training platform, developed through the project with and for the animal health workforce of the Pacific
- The project also developed animal healthINAL training modules to provide refresher training and hands-on skills development in zoonotic diseases, emerging infectious disease prevention, One Health, biosecurity, communication and leadership
The Pacific Paravet Training project, led by Charles Sturt University’s Gulbali Institute of Agriculture, Water and Environment (Gulbali Institute) and funded by the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade under the Centre for Health Security, has upskilled animal health workers in the Pacific through new courses.
The project ran from May 2020 and is nearing completion after upskilling para-vets and other staff in the animal health workforce in Timor Leste, PNG, Solomon Islands, Fiji and Vanuatu through the EdApp training app, which was developed to support the limited number of veterinarians in the region.
Charles Sturt University’s Senior Research Fellow in the Gulbali Institute and Project Manager for the Pacific Paravet Training Project Dr Nicola Wunderlich said the project brought vital skills development to the veterinary sector in the Pacific region.
“We have developed these online training resources over three years together with our Pacific partners and are proud to find a sustainable solution that offers training resources freely available to all,” Dr Wunderlich said.
A final workshop is taking place from Monday 29 May until Friday 2 June, where the training courses are being handed over to 27 representatives from the project’s country partners. A postmortem practical and videography training will help participants with their technical skills.
“Our hand-over event will not only train the trainers of our stakeholder organisations but more so encourage them to develop a sense of ownership by learning how to get the most out of the platform for their organisations back in their home countries. This includes being able to modify content themselves to make it relevant and incorporate it into their existing learning management platforms, where they exist,” Dr Wunderlich said.
Charles Sturt Associate Head (Research and Graduate Studies) and Associate Professor in Wildlife Health and Pathology Associate Professor Andrew Peters noted the importance of animal health workers to economic development and security in the Pacific.
“There are however significant challenges for animal health workers in the Pacific to acquire necessary skills and knowledge,” Professor Peters said.
“While our training resources are useful, we hope that by creating the opportunity for Pacific workers to share their own knowledge and experiences in the app we are creating a more sustainable, empowering and locally relevant way of building animal health capacity across the region.”
Dr Wunderlich said she was looking forward to presenting the online courses to participants, which marked an important milestone for the project.
“This is our official handover event of the training resources we have developed, in what will be the final event before the project comes to an end on 30th June,” she said.
“It will see a select number of participants representing the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH), Food and Agriculture Organisation (FOA) and Pacific Community (SPC) to be trained to become administrators and authors on the training platform.”
During the workshop, attendees will participate in postmortem practical training on pigs, chickens and fish.
Dr Wunderlich said the COVID-19 pandemic prevented most of the international travel for face-to-face learning, however the project was able to be adapted to communicate with participants virtually.
“Online consultation with stakeholders was quite successful and allowed for better participation diversity,” Dr Wunderlich said.
“We had one workshop in 2022 on animal health communication and community engagement which had to be online and was still effective in upskilling the workforce.”
Organisations involved in the program included the Ministry of Agriculture Fiji, Papua New Guinea University of Technology, National Agricultural Quarantine Inspection Authority Papua New Guinea, Ministry of Agriculture & Livestock Fiji, Universidade Nacional Timor Lorosa'e, the World Organisation for Animal Health, Pacific Community, Food and Agriculture Organisation, staff from the Charles Sturt University Biosecurity Training Centre, and Gulbali Institute of Agriculture, Water and Environment, Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, The Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Pacific Paravet Training Project team, and Mayfly Media.