Primary animal health care (PAHC) programs are aimed at the provision of basic animal health
services at local level. No single approach has emerged as the one of choice. The aim of this
study was to evaluate the impact of training using the PAHC model developed by Afrivet
Training Service, on the skills of small scale rural farmers.
Seventy nine farmers were selected randomly from Makapanstad, Ratjiepane and Mnisi area
using a statistical software EpiCalc 2000 v1.02. The selected farmers were assessed for
knowledge and skills with background information collected prior to a 5 day training session.
Data was captured using Microsoft Excel and analysed using Stata 12.1. Means were
compared using participant’s t-test or ANOVA while the proportions were compared using
Fisher’s exact test. The statistical significance was assessed at p < 0.05.
The findings prior to training indicated that complete data was available for 77 participants, of
which the majority were adult males with age of mean±SD of 49±18.2 years. The average herd
size was 12±14.1 cattle. There was a significant involvement of youth and females at 31% and
32% respectively. The unemployment rate amongst participants was 91%. Farmers perceived
clinical services as being unaffordable. Most of the participants (79%) preferred to treat a sick
animal themselves or seek advice from the neighbouring farmers as compared to 21% who
approached a veterinary professional for assistance. Lack of knowledge, poor access to
products and poor communication between farmers and veterinary officials was identified. Post-training assessment indicated that farmers gained skills to observe, examine and treat;
implement preventative measures independently. There was a better understanding of the
farmers’ role in the provision of animal health care. There was no significant difference in overall
skill level between the various age groups, level of education and farming experience. There
were differences between the genders in the acquisition of specific skills during the training,
with females performing better in data recording while males were more skilled at determining
temperature using a thermometer.
The conclusion is that the training model used had a positive impact on the ability of the
participants to provide first-line animal health care and keep records. A modified, standardised
method to evaluate knowledge before and after training is proposed for future studies. Further
studies are also required to evaluate the impact of the training on animal health and production,
food security and socio-economic impact.