Article, 100th Anniversary

17 years strengthening the performance of Veterinary Services 

Performance of Veterinary Service_WOAH PVS Programme
Since its creation in 2007, the Performance of Veterinary Services (PVS) Pathway has become WOAH’s flagship capacity-building programme. It bases its recommendations on field assessments, independent expertise and reliable data to strengthen national Veterinary Services. Today, the programme continues to evolve and to innovate with the launch of an information system that provides enhanced analytical capabilities.

“Medicine cures man, veterinary medicine cures mankind”, as the saying goes. The work of Veterinary Services goes beyond the improvement of animal health: it has a social, economic, environmental and public health impact.

To help countries improve their Veterinary and Aquatic Animal Health Services, WOAH launched the PVS Pathway in 2007. By providing countries with an independent, expert evaluation of their Veterinary Services’ critical competencies, the programme allows for targeted, more efficient and measurable capacity-development.  

Since the creation of the PVS Pathway and as of March 2024: 



PVS activities were conducted in more than 140 countries 


of WOAH Members engaged in at least one PVS activity 

PVS Pathway: from field assessments to targeted support 

For each evaluation mission, WOAH-trained experts meet with various stakeholders in the country, ranging from ministers to farmers. They visit field sites and key facilities, such as laboratories, border posts and slaughterhouses. In their report, experts analyse each country’s unique challenges and advantages to support Veterinary Services’ continuous improvement. Based on the evidence collected, the experts provide recommendations to enable countries to take ownership, act and prioritise improvements of their animal health systems.

“The PVS recommendations are a fundamental tool in providing a formal diagnosis, with an objective and independent assessment, endorsed by WOAH, of the quality of Veterinary Services,” explains Mr. Esteban Valenzuela Van Treek, Minister of Agriculture of Chile. “This makes it possible to identify the gaps and shortcomings,” he adds. 

In 2017, to mark the 10-year anniversary of the programme, relevant stakeholders convened for a PVS Pathway Think Tank Forum, to set directions for the future and devise ways to keep the programme relevant and attractive. The evolved PVS Pathway was launched two years later, with activities structured in the four stages still used today: orientation, evaluation, planning and targeted support.  

To better respond to particular needs and to align with global control and eradication efforts led by WOAH and its partners, specific disease-oriented approaches were created on peste des petits ruminants, rabies, and African swine fever. For Mr. Esteban Valenzuela Van Treek, “the incorporation of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) as one of the 45 critical competencies” in the PVS Evaluations is another “fundamental improvement”, as it “takes into account that one of the main One Health problems that humanity will have to deal with is AMR.” 

PVS programme_ process infographic
The four stages of the PVS Pathway

Providing countries with tools and resources for advocacy

As of 2024, nearly 600 PVS activities have been conducted. In particular, evaluation reports include an analysis of Veterinary Services’ performance against important issues, such as legal and regulatory matters as well as human, financial and physical resources, to ensure compliance with WOAH international Standards. These rich and actionable recommendations have turned PVS reports into a key reference tool for strategic investments.  

For Gilberto Correia Carvalho Silva, Minister of Agriculture and the Environment of Cape Verde, “the PVS evaluation enables us to mobilise financial resources to bring our national Veterinary Services in line with national, regional and international standards.” 

Abhijit Mitra, Animal Husbandry Commissioner, remembers well the PVS Evaluation of India’s Veterinary Services, conducted in 2018. “It helped us identify gaps and take some initiatives to strengthen our Veterinary Services”, he says. “Later, when we were formulating a Pandemic Fund project for support of the World Bank, it really helped us to determine our objectives, activities, and strategies to develop. When we submitted our project, we realised that the evaluation had really given us an edge over other applicants.

PVS Evaluations: A boost for agricultural exports  

PVS Evaluations are not only intended for developing countries. Okita Masatsugu, Director of Animal Health Division at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in Japan, participated in Japan’s PVS Evaluation mission in 2016. “It was actually the first time we had a comprehensive evaluation of our Veterinary Services. We wanted to find the loopholes in our veterinary systems. And more importantly, we wanted to show our transparency and accountability to our trading partners. Now, thanks to this PVS Pathway initiative, we are enjoying a very good progress in the export of Japanese products, such as wagyu beef.” 

Internationally, PVS recommendations serve as valuable insights for development agencies, such as the World Bank, to tailor their lending operations and technical assistance programs. These recommendations inform decision-making processes regarding resource allocation and project design, ensuring that interventions are targeted and aligned with national priorities.

Renaud Seligmann, World Bank Director for Strategy and Operations of the Sustainable Development Practice Group. 

“Moreover, PVS reports facilitate dialogue and collaboration among countries, international organisations, and donors, fostering partnerships aimed at addressing common challenges in animal health and welfare”, adds Renaud Seligmann.

“Taking the reports off the shelf” with a new information system for PVS  

Over its 17 years of existence, the programme gathered a wealth of comparable data and insights on national Veterinary Services, over time and across countries. In May 2024, WOAH launched a new information system for PVS. “The idea is to take the reports off the shelf and to use them in a smarter way”, Barbara Alessandrini, Head of WOAH’s Capacity Building Department explained. “Now, countries can use  data and insights from the PVS reports, they can perform qualitative and quantitative analyses, and have a true evaluation and monitoring framework based on the level of achievement of the PVS critical competencies.”  

Some Members have already started using the new platform. “In the past, we had to browse through long documents to retrieve specific information. The new information system will make our life easier”, said Dr Pebi Suseno, Senior Veterinary Officer in Indonesia. With a few clicks, we can fetch the data and recommendations we need for each project.”  

For Barbara Alessandrini, the new information system will revolutionise the way PVS data are used, in line with their original intention: “Members are empowered with the information. Technical and financial partners are empowered. WOAH is empowered. Transparency of national Veterinary Services is increased by Members sharing information. And we have demonstrated, over the years, that evidence-based decision-making is always more effective.”  

Building capacities from initial to continuing education 

WOAH prioritises the professional development of every actor within the veterinary workforce whether they are veterinarians, veterinary paraprofessionals, or community animal health workers. We ensure robust initial education by producing comprehensive guidelines for veterinary education institutions and fostering twinning projects, while we also accompany their continuing education by facilitating trainings and providing an accessible e-learning platform.

Our commitment extends further as we foster an enabling environment that contributes to a better performance of Veterinary Services. This includes, among others, the development of adequate veterinary legislation, the implementation of efficient public-private partnerships, and the creation of sustainable national laboratory networks.  

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