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Diverging Discourses: Animal Health Challenges and Veterinary Care in Northern Uganda

Arvidsson, Anna and Fischer, Klara and Hansen, Kjell and Sternberg Lewerin, Susanna and Chenais, Erika (2022). Diverging Discourses: Animal Health Challenges and Veterinary Care in Northern Uganda. Frontiers in Veterinary Science. 9 , 773903
[Research article]

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Abstract

People in northern Uganda are currently rebuilding their lives after a lengthy period of conflict. To facilitate this, the Ugandan government and donors have promoted investment in pigs as an important strategy for generating income quickly and ensuring livelihood security. In this context, animal health issues are an acknowledged challenge, creating uncertainty for animal owners who risk losing both their animals and income. This paper draws on policy documents guiding the veterinary sector, interviews with faculty staff at Makerere University and with veterinarians and paraprofessionals in northern Uganda, and ethnographic fieldwork in smallholder communities. The aims of this study were to contribute to an understanding of the structure of veterinary support and its dominant development narratives in policy and veterinary education and of the way in which dominant discourses and practices affect smallholders' ability to treat sick animals. Particular attention was paid to the role of paraprofessionals, here referring to actors with varied levels of training who provide animal health services mainly in rural areas. The results suggest that veterinary researchers, field veterinarians and government officials in agricultural policy share a common discourse in which making smallholders more business-minded and commercializing smallholder production are important elements in reducing rural poverty in Uganda. This way of framing smallholder livestock production overlooks other important challenges faced by smallholders in their livestock production, as well as alternative views of agricultural development. The public veterinary sector is massively under-resourced; thus while inadequately trained paraprofessionals and insufficient veterinary support currently present a risks to animal health, paraprofessionals fulfill an important role for smallholders unable to access the public veterinary sector. The dominant discourse framing paraprofessionals as "quacks" tends to downplay how important they are to smallholders by mainly highlighting the negative outcomes for animal healthcare resulting from their lack of formalized training. The conclusions of this study are that both animal health and smallholders' livelihoods would benefit from closer collaboration between veterinarians and paraprofessionals and from a better understanding of smallholders' needs.

Authors/Creators:Arvidsson, Anna and Fischer, Klara and Hansen, Kjell and Sternberg Lewerin, Susanna and Chenais, Erika
Title:Diverging Discourses: Animal Health Challenges and Veterinary Care in Northern Uganda
Series Name/Journal:Frontiers in Veterinary Science
Year of publishing :2022
Volume:9
Article number:773903
Number of Pages:15
Publisher:FRONTIERS MEDIA SA
ISSN:2297-1769
Language:English
Publication Type:Research article
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Published version
Copyright:Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0
Full Text Status:Public
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 402 Animal and Dairy Science > Animal and Dairy Science.
(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 403 Veterinary Science > Clinical Science
Keywords:discourse coalitions, Africa, disease prevention, animal health services, paraprofessionals
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-116941
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-116941
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
DOI10.3389/fvets.2022.773903
Web of Science (WoS)000776690500001
ID Code:27790
Faculty:NJ - Fakulteten för naturresurser och jordbruksvetenskap
VH - Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science
Department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
(LTJ, LTV) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development

(VH) > Department of Biomedical Science and Veterinary Public Health
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:12 May 2022 13:25
Metadata Last Modified:13 May 2022 22:38

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