Balochistan is endowed with abundant natural resources and a rich cultural heritage. It has made steady strides in terms of socioeconomic indicators in a number of categories. It is the largest province in terms of area covering 34.7 million hectares, almost 44% of country’s land area. Unfortunately, in the past the pace of development in Balochistan has been rather sluggish and it has lagged behind in many key denominators of socioeconomic progress.

The state of veterinary medicine and resources for animal treatment has not been promising. Animal health and scanty veterinary resources has severely affected the steady livestock with drastic long term repercussions for the economic growth of the province. Although, animals are viewed as precious all over the world with dedicated organizations championing the cause and fighting for the rights of animals, Balochistan does not have a functional mechanism for the treatment and care of animals in the province. Unlike the rest of world where countries ensure that requisite treatment options are availed whenever there is such a need, Pakistan in general and Balochistan in particular, has a long way to go before it can be at par with the rest of the world. However, in this part of the country, a veterinarian is generously frowned upon and it is not generally regarded as a viable profession.

Lack of specific social awareness initiatives geared at educating the public on animal health and care coupled with below average number of institutions offering programs in animal medicine has affected this sector. It is pertinent to note that majority of the people in the province earn their livelihood from animal husbandry. It is a major means of sustenance for most of the nomadic tribes. However, harsh climate with low and erratic rainfall, cold winters and hot summers, poor flock management, animal diseases and health problems have added to the woes of animal care. Herds of sheep, goats and camels are lost thanks to the absence of a mechanism providing optimum health care. Some of the issues afflicting animal care are poor veterinary services, inadequate veterinary extension services and improper medicine supply. Consequently, animals continue to suffer and many of them die of very common treatable diseases. Poor nutrition in combination with livestock diseases are a serious concern for animal health. Livestock sector in developing and underdeveloped economies are heavily damaged by frequent diseases and improper procurement of medicines . Lack of veterinary services, non-availability of extension veterinary services and improper supply chain of livestock medicines.

It would therefore be worthwhile to explore the factors that account for the shortage of veterinarians with expertise in laboratory animal medicine and comparative pathology. There has been mounting evidence that indicates a gross lack of dedicated research in the field. While there are many factors that contribute to the lack of veterinarians in biomedical research, a key reason for this shortage is a lack of commitment from veterinary schools to educate veterinary students and graduates for careers other than private clinical practice. Veterinary schools and institutions that offer postgraduate training must reaffirm their role in educating students for all types of careers, including careers in biomedical research. They must take steps to reshape pertinent policies and actions in the areas of admissions, recruitment, and curriculum. Educational institutions can play a meaningful role in reintroducing veterinary medicine with special focus on all areas of animal care and heath. Our provincial government can initiate a comprehensive review of the factors inhibiting the growth of veterinary medicine and design relevant programs that can systematically rectify the current sorry state of affairs. There is a dire need for further long term programs specifically aimed at carrying out research in animal sciences with special focus on veterinary services and animal health.

While acknowledging the fact that the output from institutions offering relevant degree program in veterinary medicine will take years to make a significant difference, it is nonetheless the only reliable means that will engage a long-term strategy for increasing the number of veterinarians entering postgraduate training programs. However, there a number a steps that the provincial government can consider to alleviate the situation in the shorter term. It can begin with a thorough overhauling the government as well as private clinical practices at animal treatment and care. Extensive professional development programs can go a long way in sensitizing the concerned with regards to the gravity of the situation. If concerted efforts are made from all quarters, the situation will surely take a turn for the better. A modern and improved health care system for the animals will have its cumulative benefits in the long run and poise our country and the Balochistan province on the path of socioeconomic development.


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Leena Shah Mir is a freelance analyst from Gwadar, Balochistan.


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