Participants of the paravet training originate from villages all over Afghanistan. Special DCA facilitators visit villages where there is a need for veterinary care. In consultation with the local Shura they recruit capable and motivated trainees. These trainees are mostly male, but in less conservative provinces also female trainees are selected. After an entrance exam, these trainees participate in a paravet course in one of the four DCA training centres.
A paravet course runs 24 weeks. The curriculum of the training includes diagnosis and treatment of the most frequently occurring diseases, vaccination of animals, and training in extension of best practices in animal health and production to farmers. Practical training is a very important element in the paravet curriculum. For handling, diagnosing and treating of animals will be the major tasks of the future paravet. Also a seminar on business development is part of the paravet course. After all, as private entrepreneur a paravet must be able to run his or her small business effectively.
After graduation, the paravets return to their villages to start a veterinary field unit, supported by DCA.
Over the years, DCA has trained more than 1,000 paravets. Most graduates are now working in one of DCA’s field programmes or are operating their VFUs which are fully privatised.
DCA has now been striving for some time to obtain an official certification for the paravet training and curriculum. This certification not only coming from the Ministry of Education (MoE), but also the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL). There are some promising developments in this respect. In 2016, the Animal Health (Veterinary) Law was ratified. In this law the position of paravets is well-described; an important first step towards recognition. Negotiations on certifications with MoE are still ongoing. Once certified at MoE, MAIL will officially sign all certificates of DCA training centre. So official recognition of the DCA training is expected soon.