VETERINARY IN ETHIOPIA

Establishment of veterinary laboratory service in Ethiopia

The establishment of the first veterinary laboratory in Ethiopia dates back to the year 1905 when a veterinary institute came in to being at Asmara, Eritrea, with the main objectives of producing vaccines and investigation of livestock disease. A second laboratory was set up in the year 1939 (1932 E.C) near Kechene, Medhane Alem cathedral which was shifted to Gulele, Addis Ababa ten years later in 1949 under the aegis of Ministry of Agriculture. This was subsequently transferred to its present site at Debre-Zeit in 1963, where it developed into a full-fledged National Veterinary Institute with the collaboration and financial assistance of French government.A decade later in 1973 another laboratory, Sholla Regional Veterinary Laboratory, was established at Sholla, which was jointly managed and run by the government of Ethiopia and the British Over-seas Development Programme until 1977 when it was entirely taken over by the Ministry of Agriculture, upon termination of British Over-seas Development Programme.

About the same time another regional veterinary laboratory was started at Bahir Dar with the technical and financial assistance of the government of the People’s Republic of China and where the Chinese experts carried on the work until 1979.  Establishment of Bedelle Regional Veterinary Laboratory was followed with the technical and financial assistance of UNDP/FAO.

Regional laboratories have mainly carried on investigational work on parasitic and bacterial disease, except Asmera, where several biological have also been produced including anti-snake venom sera (Source: The structural organization and the strategy for the veterinary laboratory development in Ethiopia, 1979). Until 1983, the regional veterinary laboratories were at Asmara, Bahir Dar, Sholla and Bedele. Moreover, the National Veterinary Institute (NVI) was the only reference laboratory for the animal health sector and mainly focused on vaccine production, diagnostic and research works and coordinates the regional laboratories. After that in the coming years regional and national veterinary laboratories were established in different parts of the country.