A century of veterinary research in Zimbabwe
In Zimbabwe, veterinary research has been conducted for close to 100 years, almost since the establishment of formal veterinary services in this country. As a sub-tropical country, livestock in Zimbabwe are prone to numerous diseases, particularly vector-borne infections, whose transmission requires a warm climate. These have placed heavy burdens on the task of raising livestock. The economic and social structure of Zimbabwe is primarily based on agriculture and, hence, the improvement of animal health and production was an early and important concern. It is certain that the development of the country would have been severely constrained without adequate control of livestock diseases and research has formed the basis for the development of disease control strategies applicable to the local conditions. Veterinary research most commonly addresses issues of disease etiology, pathology, diagnosis, to facilitate control through prevention, treatment or for eradication. Through intelligent and persistent investigation, in the face of ever-increasing competition for resources, research has successfully found solutions for many of the afflictions threatening the livestock industry over the past 100 years. Though not without failures, our research capacity has achieved international stature. Here we review the development and directions of veterinary research in Zimbabwe, and discuss how its record forms the basis for the justification, formulation and assessment of research targets and strategies for the future.
The Zimbabwe Science News Volume 34(1) March 2001, pp. 3-10