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Agriculture Minister Jose Abelardo Mai says Caribbean needs to prioritize investing in veterinary education, services, and infrastructure

Posted: Wednesday, March 6, 2024. 11:16 am CST.

Minister of Agriculture, Food Security and Enterprise Jose Abelardo Mai – Photo Credit: MAFSE

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: The Minister of Agriculture, Food Security and Enterprise Jose Abelardo Mai said the Caribbean needs to prioritize investing in veterinary education, services, and infrastructure. Minister Mai was speaking on Monday at the opening of the 33rd biennial Caribbean Veterinary Medical Association (CbVMA) Conference being held in Belize for the first time.

The regional event, whose theme is ‘One Health, One Caribbean, One Future: Veterinary Solutions Toward a Sustainable Tomorrow’ opened on Monday evening at the Welcome Center in San Ignacio, Cayo District and was officially opened on Wednesday at the San Ignacio Hotel in the same town.

The three-day conference on animal health and welfare in the Caribbean region has brought together key stakeholders from different sectors and countries.

In highlighting the importance of investing in veterinary education, services, and infrastructure, Minister Mai commended the One Health approach that recognizes the interdependence of human, animal, and environmental health.

As recognized by Minister Mai, the One Health Initiative is a global movement that aims to promote the health and well-being of humans, animals, and the environment.

“The conference serves as a platform for shared knowledge, collaboration, and commitment to building a brighter future for animal health and welfare in the Caricom and wider Caribbean region,” the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Enterprise said in a statement following Minister Mai’s presentation.

“It reflects the dedication of key ministries in setting policies and directions that empower veterinarians to excel in their crucial roles.”

Minister of Sustainable Development, Climate Change, and Disaster Risk Management Orlando – Photo Credit: MAFSE

Minister of Sustainable Development, Climate Change, and Disaster Risk Management Orlando Habet stressed the need for the environment sector to understand its vital role in One Health and to collaborate with the health and agriculture sectors. He called for a whole-society approach to address the threats to health and ecosystems, acknowledging the linkages between human, animal, and environmental well-being.

According to the MAFSE statement, the President of the Veterinary Association of Belize (VAB) Dr. Victor Gongora praised Belize’s new capacity to contribute to the Caribbean region and outlined the main topics of the conference: one health, poultry, companion animals, and veterinarians’ well-being. He also celebrated the commitment of the Ministries of Agriculture, Health, and Environment to the One Health initiative, which ensures that veterinarians receive the necessary education to practice effectively and impactfully.

President of the Veterinary Association of Belize (VAB) Dr. Victor Gongora – Photo Credit: MAFSE

The CbVMA Conference features a variety of lectures from experts in different fields, such as animal nutrition, climate change, wildlife diseases, and medicine. Participants will also learn how to cope with disasters and prevent burnout in Veterinary Medicine. The event offers a comprehensive and interdisciplinary perspective on the challenges and opportunities of One Health.

Caribbean Veterinary Medical Association (CbVMA) Conference – Photo Credit: MAFSE

 

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