South Africa

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University of PretoriaDepartment of Veterinary Tropical Diseases (DVTD)

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History of DVTD

The Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases (DVTD) is one of five departments in the Faculty of Veterinary Science of the University of Pretoria. The DVTD was created on 1 March 1993 by amalgamating the Departments of lnfectious Diseases and Parasitology, which created ideal circumstances to house various related disciplines under one roof and to follow a multidisciplinary and integrated, problem-solving approach, particularly pertaining to teaching and research. The Department has grown significantly since its inception and has established itself as a leader in many areas, particularly those related to teaching and research in tropical animal health. It has also been strategically successful in establishing alliances and collaboration with national and international institutions, which have resulted in substantial outside funding. The Department has experienced significant growth in the number of staff members, postgraduate students and research outputs. The DVTD operates mainly in three areas: teaching and training, research, and community service including diagnostic services.


The Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases, a key role-player in international networks of first-rate institutions, conducts important research and provides top-quality education and related services in animal health, with a special focus on infectious and parasitic diseases in sub-Saharan Africa. This will be achieved by realizing the following strategic objectives:

  • strengthening current partnerships, and establishing new ones, with national and international research and funding organizations,
  • providing top-quality undergraduate and postgraduate education and continuing professional development in collaboration with strategic partners,
  • strengthening the research capacity and increasing the research output of the Department, and
  • having well-equipped laboratories geared to support training, research and diagnostic services in each discipline.

Training in the field of animal tropical medicine

Apart from training 130 veterinarians and 30 veterinary nurses the Department offers a research-based MSc (Veterinary Science) as well as a primarily web-based MSc (Veterinary Tropical Diseases). Candidates can enroll for a PhD degree in all disciplines. Web-based or face-to-face Continuing Professional Development (CPD) modules and short courses are presented on a wide spectrum of topics. Most of these modules are skills-orientated and web-based and are part of the primarily web-based MSc (Veterinary Tropical Diseases). They are aimed not only at veterinarians, but also at other scientists, veterinary technologists and animal health officers with appropriate experience and background. Bench training is also done on request. This informal training is mostly laboratory (skills)-orientated for individuals or small groups from South Africa and other parts of the world. A wide spectrum of audiovisual materials in the field of Tropical Animal Health has been developed by the Department, primarily to support the MSc (Veterinary Tropical Diseases) and CPD courses. These include videos, CD-ROMs and posters.

Country or context information

The greatest challenge is to obtain sufficient funding (scholarships etc.) to provide the wide spectrum of training that is required, from laboratory-oriented modules to practical field training, including the diseases of domesticated animals and wildlife. The language barrier is another challenge, as many of our potential students are from Francophone and Lusophone countries. Technical restraints such as low bandwidth and recurring power outages in many African countries are problematic for the web-based modules, as many of our students are from these countries.

For general information