Essential medicines for livestock

Brooke and the World Veterinary Association (WVA) have teamed up to collaborate on the world’s first ever list of essential medicines for livestock.

The World Health Organisation estimates that around two billion people have no access to essential medicines and it is believed the issue is even worse within animal populations. Vet colleagues throughout Brooke’s countries of operation have reported major challenges with access to safe and effective veterinary medicines such as pain killers and vaccines, making it difficult for them to do their job.

In our work across Africa, Asia and Latin America, we work with more than 4,000 veterinarians and veterinary para professionals, many of whom do not have access to essential medicines.

In Ethiopia alone, we found that 100% of practitioners did not have access to pain relieving medicines for animals, and 40% lacked basic supplies such as syringes and needles. This situation makes it impossible for vets to fulfil their professional oath to protect and save animals from pain and disease, it also puts human health at risk.

Dr Shereene Williams, Senior Manager- Global Animal Health

Knowledge and skills are not enough. Vets must have access to essential medicines. 

What are essential medicines?

These are core medicines and vaccines, selected for their relevance, efficacy and cost effectiveness that should be available in every country to every veterinarian. Such medicines will ensure livestock have access to better, timelier and more effective treatment, help prevent future pandemics, and reduce the threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

The list

Building on the success of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association’s list of essential medicines for dogs and cats, this new list from Brooke and the WVA will serve the care of food-producing animals such as large and small ruminants, equids, pigs, poultry, aquaculture, bees and rabbits.

The process

Eight global veterinary working groups (one for each species) have compiled a prioritised list of medicines and vaccines based upon their expert knowledge and relevant evidence focusing on the essentials to safeguard animal health and welfare. Lists completed in the first phase for large and small ruminants, pigs and equids have now been reviewed by members of organisations including:

From this we have formed one consolidated list detailing core and complementary medicines and vaccines for the four species.

Next steps

Following review by the World Organisation for Animal Health in summer 2023, the list will be shared with the wider veterinary community for open consultation. Following this, the list will be updated and published with a review date set for two years’ time.