Improving Veterinary Services

Animals and the health systems which ensure their protection, play a vital role in the security, and the economic and social wellbeing of humanity. Beyond income generation, food security and nutrition, animals are a valuable asset to the rural poor, serving as a store of wealth, collateral for credit and an essential safety net during times of crisis.

Improving Veterinary Services

PVS Pathway


Vaccine banks


“National Veterinary Services preserve and develop animal resources, reducing poverty and hunger worldwide through improving rural livelihoods and feeding the world. Their additional impact on global health security by addressing “risk at source” for emerging pandemic threats, antimicrobial resistance and food safety crises further safeguards the planet. For these compelling reasons, supporting the livestock sector through investments in national Veterinary Services, based on international standards and principles of ‘good governance’, protects and develops all communities, from global to local.”

Dr Monique Eloit Director General,
World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH)

Poor financial resources and inadequately staffed and organised Veterinary Services result in high animal losses and uncontrolled epidemics.

Animal diseases cause significant, unpredictable negative impacts on the livelihoods of communities. More than 60% of animal diseases are zoonotic (transmissible to humans), making animal health and public health closely related. Thus, ensuring animal health and its service delivery is a global public good requiring sustainable attention and investment.

©OIE/D.van Aaken

Supporting the strengthening of national Veterinary Services

WOAH is a unique intergovernmental organisation that works alongside its partners towards a healthier and safer planet. It has built international consensus on the principles of good governance and the quality of Veterinary Services, as embodied by its international Standards that are recognised by the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the third strategic objective of the WOAH Sixth Strategic Plan for the Period 2016-2020: “Ensuring the capacity and sustainability of the Veterinary Services”. WOAH has a proven track record in supporting the strengthening of national Veterinary Services based on these principles and standards, since the advent of its flagship PVS Pathway programme more than a decade ago.

Through smart investments in WOAH activities, which are closely aligned with international standards and agreed principles of aid effectiveness, the global community can sustainably develop the capacity of national Veterinary Services to safeguard health and food security, grow economies and improve the lives of – at least – the 1.3 billion individuals whose livelihoods depend on healthy animals.

Key Takeaways

Global public good

Veterinary Services are a global public good worthy of sustainable investment by the whole international community.


Veterinary Services are chronically
under-resourced against all comparative measures.

Global health security

Veterinary Services make a vital
contribution to global health security
in areas such as emerging zoonoses,
antimicrobial resistance and food safety, as they address “risk at source” for most major infectious threats, including pandemics.

Strengthening Veterinary Services

WOAH is a unique intergovernmental organisation with key attributes as a partner in strengthening Veterinary Services, at global, regional or national levels.

Global contribution

Veterinary Services make a critical global contribution to food security, nutrition, poverty alleviation and resilience, given the number of poor rural communities that rely on animals for their economic livelihoods and as a food source.

PVS Pathway

WOAH has a proven track record in
strengthening Veterinary Services,
particularly over the last decade through its flagship PVS Pathway programme, which is being expanded for the future.

Read more