Slamet Susanto, The Jakarta Post, Yogyakarta | Wed, 10/28/2009 9:46 PM
Indonesia will need 9,000 more veterinarians by 2020 to deal with future infectious animal diseases and to help develop cattle farming, an expert says.
Bambang Sumiarto, dean of Gadjah Mada University’s School of Veterinary Sciences, told a workshop on Wednesday that with only 11,000 veterinarians available, many regions could not eradicate infectious animal diseases due to a shortfall in specialists.
“As a result, experts other than veterinarians are taking over the veterinary jobs,” Bambang said.
There are currently five veterinary schools across the country producing graduates – UGM, Bogor Institute of Agriculture, Syiah Kuala University in Banda Aceh, Airlangga University in Surabaya and Udayana University in Denpasar. Brawijaya University in Malang, East Java, Mataram University in West Nusa Tenggara and Wijaya Kusuma University in Surabaya have only recently opened veterinary schools, and have yet to produce qualified veterinarians.
With less than 1,000 veterinary students graduating annually, the country faces difficulties in improving animal health, he said.
In the past few years, Indonesia has been fighting both avian influenza and its H1N1 variant, two diseases transmitted by animals.