By Sharon Atieno

As lack of knowledge in animal protection is the leading cause of animal loss during disasters, the World Animal Protection has launched a free online course for veterinarians, para professials, animal handlers and animal owners.

The PrepVet course which stands for veterinarian preparedness during disasters equips learners with skills in disaster risk management for animals and steps to carry out actions such as emergency response, risk mapping and risk reduction analysis.

Moreover, it includes the study of international standards and guidelines for the design, implementation and evaluation of interventions in animal emergencies as well as addressing the basic aspects of emergency care for animals in disasters. 

The course covers three main areas: disaster risk reduction and management, climate change adaptation and basic care of animals during emergencies, making up a 13-module course that aims to build skills and conceptual bridges that will promote the implementation of public policies including animals in disaster management plans and the foundations of a new culture on disaster preparedness.

Launching the course, Dr. Judy Kimaru of World Animal Protection noted, “Disasters create serious disruptions and economic loss which impairs the ability of communities to recover. Many people living in areas prone to disasters rely on animals for their livelihoods and survival. Protecting their animals secures their own livelihood and food security. PrepVet aims to equip people with the skills to protect their animals.”

She added that the course prepares all disaster response teams to deal with all cadre of wildlife except aquatic animals which require more training.

According to Dr. Kimaru, the course is designed to take care of rapid onset disasters such as cyclones, floods, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

“Animals are worth more to their owners than just their commodity value. As a productive asset they require protection and care to continue being productive. Disasters also involve risk proof of the environment our animals grow in and reducing environmental pollution.  Africa must therefore equip her animal care givers with disaster risk reduction strategies.  This is exactly what World animal Protection is offering through the course for free,“ she said.