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Committee Focus

Published: 8/10/2016

In this issue we bring you up to date with the work of the WSAVA’s CE Committee.

The WSAVA CE Committee aims to provide accessible and relevant learning opportunities to veterinarians in our member associations – particularly those lacking the resources to provide these themselves - to encourage learning and professional development for companion animal practitioners globally. It also assists member associations to start to develop their own CE programs.

How does it deliver its support?

Committee Chair Jill Maddison works with a team of regional representatives, also members of the WSAVA CE Committee, to identify need and set up CE meetings. They include Zoe Belshaw, who is responsible for Eastern Europe; Lawson Cairns for Africa, Marcello Roza for Latin America; Umesh Karkare in India and Louis Lui/Torren Stone in China. Jill coordinates WSAVA CE’s work in South East Asia.

How does the WSAVA CE Committee prioritize countries requiring support?

It has an agreed list of countries that qualify for support in conjunction with its sponsors. Recipient countries are those with limited access to international standard CE. In addition, most of the countries are emerging small animal markets in which many veterinarians are working with limited resources. Increasingly, WSAVA CE is also supporting countries able to provide CE in their larger cities but which struggle to reach veterinarians working in remote rural areas.

What help does the WSAVA CE Committee actually provide?

Funding is the key form of support offered by WSAVA CE. The level varies from full financial support for meetings to partial support for countries whose CE programs are more established but not fully self-sufficient. Feedback from delegates is collected at every meeting so that we can ensure that WSAVA CE is delivering maximum value.

What are its key achievements and what challenges does it face?

WSAVA CE brings relevant and practical CE to vets in emerging animal markets. Programs it has run have empowered veterinarians in their learning and development and, in several countries in Asia and Africa, have had a beneficial impact on veterinary undergraduate teaching. Its outreach programs in India, China, Argentina and Brazil and its support for an existing outreach program in Serbia have enabled WSAVA CE to have a greater reach in these countries and to support veterinarians who may not be able to attend national meetings. Feedback consistently confirms the hunger for learning - and huge enthusiasm for and appreciation of WSAVA CE’s help.

Inevitably, it can be challenging to manage relationships with so many veterinary associations and individuals. WSAVA CE’s very generous sponsors are keen to know what events are happening well in advance and to receive feedback from each meeting and this can be difficult but the team does its best.

It can also be tough to ensure that the right level of CE reaches the right individuals. Sometimes, veterinarians are keen to learn about the ‘shiny toys’ as they believe that that this knowledge will help them reach an international standard of veterinary practice. The WSAVA CE Committee believes that it is getting the fundamentals of small animal practice right that makes the greatest difference to the welfare of patients. The foundations of learning must be solid before expertise can be built and these foundations are often not yet in place in veterinary undergraduate courses in countries where the focus, understandably, is still on production animal practice.

To tackle this, WSAVA CE has initiated a program in Africa, supported by BSAVA called Teach the Teacher. It aims to provide CE for vets but also offer educational support for academic staff in veterinary faculties. At a WSAVA CE event in Kenya earlier this year, Professors David Church and Jill Maddison spoke to students and academic staff at the University of Nairobi prior to the two-day CE course in what she describes as an ‘inspirational’ meeting.

Ensuring that speakers are aware of the conditions under which vets are practising can be difficult sometimes - and may come as quite a shock – but WSAVA CE has built a team of speakers, who are experienced at delivering CE at different levels and can adapt to the needs of the audience.

How is the work of the WSAVA CE Committee funded?

WSAVA CE could not do its work without the generous support of our corporate sponsors: Bayer, Hills, MSD and Purina, together with member associations which support CE in specific countries – BSAVA and NACAM in Africa; ASAVA in Vietnam; NASAVA in Cuba, VOK in Bulgaria and the Global Veterinary Dermatology Education Group, which has supported meetings in Africa, Albania and Vietnam in past years and are supporting a meeting in Myanmar this year.

We are very grateful for their help and thank them on behalf of the WSAVA’s global veterinary community.

Jill Maddison comments: “As Chair of the WSAVA CE Committee, it is my privilege to work with WSAVA members around the world to facilitate the delivery of CE to thousands of veterinarians. We aim to enhance animal welfare and to empower veterinarians to work to the best of their ability despite limited resources and to be inspired to progress and develop their knowledge and skills.

“We want WSAVA CE to change practice and behavior so that patients benefit and the human-animal bond is supported and nurtured. As such, we are committed to delivering educationally rich and meaningful CE that focuses on learning that supports the fundamentals of good practice – be this anesthesia, pain management, surgical skills, internal medicine and problem solving, diagnostic imaging, dermatology, pharmacology, communication skills, dentistry or other branches of clinical practice.

“We believe this makes our CE truly relevant and that it provides a forum for discussion and reflection, showing veterinarians what is possible in their practice today, tomorrow and in the future. We look forward to helping to empower even more great veterinarians in the months ahead!”

For more information on WSAVA CE, please contact Professor Jill Maddison at