Undergraduates\' view of the veterinary profession: A study of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria – Nigeria
AbstractA study of undergraduates\' view of the veterinary profession was conducted in all the 12 academic faculties of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria – Nigeria in May, 1999. Three hundred and fifteen questionnaires were randomly administered, out of which 306 were found usable. Only 21.6% of respondents have an idea of what the veterinary profession is about. Awareness level was lowest in the faculties of arts and education. Low awareness level of the profession was blamed on veterinarians by 187 (61.0%) respondents. Sixty-eight percent of respondents had prior idea of the veterinary profession before entry into the university, however only 33.7% believed that they obtain veterinary services directly or indirectly. Two hundred and nineteen (71.6%) respondents do not include meat, fist, eggs or milk up to 10 times/week in their diet. Majority (60.1%) of the respondents suggested a lower entry point on salary scale for veterinarians than human doctors despite the fact that 53.3% of respondents were of the opinion that both veterinary and medical students study similar courses. However 80.7% believed that veterinarians should be addressed as “Doctor”. When compared with eleven other disciplines, veterinary medicine was ranked most difficult to gain admission, highest in terms of academic work load (average 31.5 hours/week), highest along with human medicine in terms of duration of training (6-9 years) and first in terms of social prestige. Only 155 (50.7%) respondents indicated pleasure in their relation becoming a veterinarian despite the fact that 75.5% of respondents believed that there is a shortage of veterinarians in the country and 63.4% of respondents advocated the need for the federal government to create a separate ministry for livestock. Surprisingly only 46.7% (14 out of 30) of veterinary students indicated interest in relation becoming veterinarian, even though, 40% did not indicate veterinary medicine as first choice in their university entry forms, however 60% of these respondents would rather continue with the course. Fifty-four percent of respondents have an idea of available job opportunities for veterinarians which in order of favourable ranking include Veterinary Clinics, Government Ministries, Animal Production Industries, Biomedical Research Food, Drug and Law Enforcement Agency, Customs, World Bank, Army Police Air Force, And Lastly Petrochemical Industries. Majority of respondents (81.0%) demonstrated awareness of the interrelationship of veterinary medicine with other disciplines such as Agriculture, Pharmacy and Human Medicine, thus the respondents opined that veterinarians and agriculturist together can work towards the realization of FAO standards on food sufficiency which Nigeria is yet to attain. The respondents also believed that veterinarians, pharmacists and physicians can work together in the Food and Drug Administration department to stamp out drug abuse in our society. It is suggested that public relation work of the profession should be directed towards the development of entertaining fictional or nonfunctional television/radio/newspaper series based on veterinary medicine.
KEY WORDS: Undergraduates, views, veterinary profession, Zaria, Nigeria
Nigerian Veterinary Journal Vol.25(1) 2004: 1-8