The Transformation of a Veterinary Training College to a One Health Workforce Building Centre: The Story of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at Sokoine University of Agriculture

Saturday, 16 January 2016 - 7:03am
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A photo collage showing one of the One Health challenges students encountered during their attachment in Kilosa (the unguided use of antibiotics among the Masai)

In June 2016, The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at Sokoine University of Agriculture in Morogoro, Tanzania was transformed to form the College of Veterinary and Medical Sciences. The key driver for this transformation was the One Health approach that recognizes that the health of domestic animals, wildlife, and people are inextricably linked to one another and the environment.

From the general understanding, the veterinary profession that has been serving human kind for over 250 years, has modern Veterinarians that not only serve as animal doctors, but also animal welfare advocates. In addition, they are key public health workforce because of their crucial role in: reducing global hunger, controlling zoonoses, monitoring food quality and safety, carrying out biomedical and medical research, and protecting the precious environment and biodiversity. Thus the workforce produced from the current veterinary education system, works at the interface of animals, people and the environment to solve complex problems that impact health and conservation.

The Veterinary education in East Africa started in 1942 in Makerere College which was affiliated to University of London. In 1959 this Veterinary school shifted from Makerere University in Uganda to Nairobi in Kenya where in 1962 the School was incorporated into University Collage of Nairobi, Kabete Campus. Later the school was elevated to Nairobi Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in 1972 and started to award the Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine. In Tanzania the Veterinary Education started in 1976 when the division of Veterinary Science was established under the Faculty of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Sciences of University of Dar es Salaam. After establishment of Sokoine University of Agriculture in 1984, the Division of Veterinary Science was elevated to form the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. In June 2016, this Faculty was transformed to the College of Veterinary and Medical Sciences. Establishment of this College was officially approved by the University Council in June 2016 to spearhead quality training, research and outreach services.

For the time being, the CVMS is composed of eight departments; 1) Department of Anatomy, Histology and Cell Biology; 2) Department of Physiology, Pharmacology and Toxicology; 3) Department of Microbiology, Parasitology and Immunology; 4) Department of Medical Sciences; 5) Department of Veterinary Medicine and Public Health; 6) Department of Veterinary Surgery and Theriogenology; 7) Department of Veterinary Pathology; 8) Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biotechnology.

At Undergraduate level, initially the Faculty was offering the Bachelor of Veterinary Science (BVSc) which was later changed to Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine (BVM). It also offers programs in biotechnology, laboratory science and tropical animal health and production.

The current academic and research focus of CVMS is on Animal Health, Medical Sciences, Biomedical Sciences and Veterinary Public Health.


The College is a One Health college with a number of One Health projects and programs including: OHCEA, SACIDS, AFRIQUE One and Global Health as well as a number of other One Health-related projects funded by National and International organizations. 

Prof. Maulilio J. Kipanyula: The Principal of the College of Veterinary and Medical Science

Transformation from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine to the College of Veterinary and Medical Sciences is reflected from the immense contribution the institution has made in supporting the movement from the Once Health Concept to practices.

  • In 2010 the College initiated the Network of One Health networks. This initiative has been transformed to a platform with activities executed by the One Health coordination unit, under the Prime Minister’s Office, in the Department of Disaster Management.
  • Veterinary graduates from the CVMS are now getting employed as academic members of staff in Medical schools including Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences; and Catholic University of Health and Allied Sciences in Bugando, Mwanza Tanzania.  
  • Veterinary graduates from the CVMS who are now employed as researchers in Medical schools and at the Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) in Tanzania.
  • Pre-service One Health training for staff and students from veterinary and medical schools through exchange programs.
  • One Health multidisciplinary collaborative initiatives including joint field attachments at One Health Demonstration sites specifically the Kilosa demonstration site. In addition, different joint activities are implemented through the One Health Students Club.

A photo collage showing one of the One Health challenges students encountered during their attachment in Kilosa (the unguided use of antibiotics among the Masai)

  • In-service One Health and leadership training workshops, Continuing Professional Development Programs (CPDs); and presentations during the professional associations’ meetings/conferences.

The recognition that over 60% of new, emerging, or reemerging diseases have animal origins, justifies the need to widen the scope for joint research, training and outreach within and between Institutions using the One Health approach. Tomorrow’s workforce for health sector must collaborate across disciplines and employ One Health approaches to produce simultaneous gains in human, domestic animals, wildlife and environmental health. Using effective cross-disciplinary collaboration will also create the potential for a multiplier effect of the efficiency and effectiveness of health interventions.

Undergraduate students from Veterinary (SUA) and Medical Schools (MUHAS) attending Public Health Courses jointly