Disease Risk assessment Training Workshop

organised by the

Novartis- SA Veterinary Foundation Wildlife Trust recently supported their first  project This workshop was held at the Breeding Facility of the National Zoological Gardens of South Africa in Lichtenburg. The workshop was attended by forty-nine participants from eight countries, including Rwanda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Uganda, America, the United Kingdom, Botswana and South Africa.

The workshop provided training to African conservationists (veterinarians, wildlife managers, policy makers, rehabilitators, zoo curators, translocation personnel etc.) in the hands-on application of basic risk assessment tools and the use of unified, broadly applicable tools (protocols, models, policies, sample methodologies and guidelines) and instructions to assess disease risk in current and future animal movement programmes. Decision making tools and data analysis tools were also covered. All trainees received software programmes for computer-based tools, a workbook containing the various training exercises, explanatory notes, relevant information and data collection and analysis forms and certificates of attendance at the end of the course.

Comments and Feedback from Trainees

“This was definitely one of the most useful and amazing workshops I have attended. The atmosphere of the workshop was vibrant and enthusiastic. Yolan always emphasizes the “groan zone” that people go through at CBSG workshops, but I have never experienced such an intense one as the one at this workshop, and which was followed by an amazing high – a real contrast! Within the South African Crane Working Group we are constantly putting birds back into the wild following rehabilitation or breeding or as part of a recovery programme. A disease risk has always been assumed negligible purely as we know so little about it. The workshop has motivated me to complete a full disease risk assessment (and maybe a PhD) for each of our actions. All-in-all, a very successful and motivational workshop!”
Kerryn Morrison
National Operations Manager
South African Crane Working Group


“The DRAW will definitely go down as one of the most worthwhile courses I have attended! It filled in such a relevant gap in my operational role as a Vet dealing with a multitude of Protected Areas and wildlife populations rather than individuals. Something that Onderstepoort certainly does not prepare one for!! It is extremely frustrating having to rely on researchers who supply one with answers based on models of which one has not got the faintest idea how these answers are derived! I am now in a position to supply such people with the relevant data and can at least follow the process and understand the shortcomings of disease models. Most of the shortcomings boil down to lack of sufficient and relevant data - most of which is my responsibility to supply!!
Thanks once again for the organization and wonderful hospitality!
Dr Dave Cooper
KZN Wildlife Veterinarian

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