FOUR emerging Papua New Guinea (PNG) scientists have begun a Charles Sturt University (CSU) training program designed to address a critical shortage of veterinarians in their country.
The four science graduates are undertaking a three-month program at CSU in Wagga Wagga to further develop their diagnostic skills and understanding of animal health.
Dr Andrew Peters, a veterinarian and lecturer in the University’s School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, has made several trips to remote parts of PNG for his PhD research into parasite infections in Australasian pigeons.
He said there was an urgent need for animal health expertise in PNG.
“Despite having a population of seven million people, many of whom are highly dependent on wild and domestic animals for food and other materials, PNG has only three national veterinarians,” Dr Peters said.
“My colleague Professor Shane Raidal and I are attempting to improve the skills shortage by developing the animal health capacity of scientists already working in PNG.”
The visiting scientists familiarised themselves with Australia by floating down the Murrumbidgee River at Wagga Wagga during a summer heatwave.
While not impressed by the heat, Tania Areori praised the local community as “very friendly and very welcoming”.
“The PNG scientists undertake all the diagnostic tests from start to finish. We are also exposing them to as many different Australian wildlife and landscapes as possible during their time here,” Dr Peters said.
The program is supported by the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation.