Workshop on using Case Studies in advancing the Lao Veterinary Curriculum

On April 27th, Russell Bush, Sonevilay Nampanya and Peter Windsor facilitated a ‘Workshop on using Case Studies in advancing the Lao Veterinary Curriculum’ at the Nabong campus of the National University of Laos, Faculty of Agriculture, near Vientiane capitol. The workshop was developed from a request by Faculty staff, following an ADB supported review of the curriculum conducted in 2014 by Peter Windsor, and the current curriculum development led by inputs from Russell Bush.
The workshop involved 11 Lao participants (one female) that were actively teaching in the relatively new BVSc curriculum (2 cohorts now graduated) but still delivering content by mainly didactic teaching. The role of case studies in encouraging active-learning was explained, and a simplified process of writing them, detailed. This included developing learning objectives, writing case scenarios, devising sequential question tasks, providing learning resources, advice on potential student presentations and assessment techniques, and finally a discussion of the expected learning outcomes.
Examples of student cases cases used in Sydney were presented, as were cases developed from MLR publications from Laos. The participants were then requested to develop a case study that would be suitable for their own units of study, and these were discussed. This workshop is particularly important for Laos as it is a great challenge for these mostly young and inexperienced staff to deliver a complete veterinary curriculum that is expects to resemble the OIE Model Vet Curriculum, with few staff and minimal resources.
Despite loss of electricity during the middle of a day of maximum heat (>40C), when both the Australian participants partially melted, the workshop was a great success. The workshop will hopefully assist the Faculty both ‘do more with less’, plus achieve improved student learning, particularly if a follow-up workshop can be organised on future visits to Laos by the MLR team.

Work of MLR shared with Indonesia


On April 5th, Prof. Peter Windsor (6th from left) presented a talk on the work of the MLR team to a delegation of 9 high level Indonesian government officials on developments in our beef industries. His presentation and discussion was part of an extensive list of topics delivered at the MLA (Meat and Livestock Australia) offices in Sydney, with other days including integrated government-industry discussions and field visits in Brisbane and Darwin to illustrate applications of technical topics discussed in sessions. These ranged from NLIS (identification systems), beef processing and marketing, the live cattle trade, welfare and many more.The Indonesian group developed overall key learnings for Indonesia and Australia from the course, including next steps in advancing better practice in the livestock industries of Indonesia. Although the group was focusing more on the commercial beef sector, the MLR work with smallholders generated considerable discussion in several key areas, including forage growing, legume choices, silage production, beef processing systems, delivery of anthelmintics in molasses-urea blocks, anti-microbial use and food safety and animal welfare issues. Other University of Sydney staff involved in the MLA day included David Boyd (course coordinator), Jenny-Ann Toribio on epidemiology studies (4th from right) and Helen Scott-Orr (5th from right) who led the course.

On the 30th March Sonevilay submitted his PhD Thesis in Sydney! His PhD research topic: ‘Progressing smallholder large ruminant productivity and transboundary disease risk management for poverty reduction in Northern Lao PDR’ was submitted by publication and his list of peer-reviewed publications can be accessed here:

SN submission

Photo: Sonevilay Nampanya (left) with supervisor Professor Peter Windsor at his submission on 30th March 2016.

Katherine Ashley (PhD student) – 18th March, 2015

A two-day workshop was held on the 20-21st February marking project commencement of ‘Development of a biosecure market-driven beef production system in Laos PDR (AH/2012/068)’ and ‘Enhancing transboundary livestock disease risk management in Lao PDR (AH/2012/067)’.

Held in Vientiane, Laos, the workshop brought together in-country partners involved in both projects and we were grateful for the presence of the Australian Ambassador to Laos, Mr John Williams, Dr Bounkhoung Khambounheung, Director General, Department of Livestock and Fisheries and representatives from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) alongside colleagues from the Department of Livestock and Fisheries, Department of Planning, National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute, Faculty of Agriculture, National University of Laos and the Faculty of Agriculture and Environmental Science, Savannakhet University.

Workshop participants on day 1 of the 2-day meeting in Vientiane.

Workshop participants on day 1 of the 2-day meeting in Vientiane.

The inception workshop was an informative and engaging session and provided an in-depth discussion of the project objectives, activities and expected outcomes and the roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders for each project. These discussions were complimented by presentations provided by Lao project staff into the current state of the nations large ruminant sector, the national strategic plan for large ruminant production and the national strategic plan for large ruminant research. The USYD project staff then had the opportunity to provide information to our Lao colleagues on recent studies into the large ruminant market and carcass composition, the prevalence and control of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in the region, the financial impact and knowledge of FMD in Laos and the socio-economic impact of improved livestock production and the importance of women and girls in agriculture.

The Mekong Livestock Research team is now looking forward to a busy and productive 2015 with the roll-out of both projects across Laos and working with our in-country partners to develop a biosecure market driven beef production system in Laos and enhance transboundary livestock disease risk management. This will involve close collaboration with project sponsors, project staff and project participants and we look forward to working with these partners to achieve improved smallholder livestock production and health!

Veterinary teaching capacity building links with new ACIAR projects in Lao PDR

17th March, 2015

In mid-2014, Prof Peter Windsor of the Mekong Livestock Research (MLR) Team of the University of Sydney (USYD) Faculty of Veterinary Science, assisted by Mr Sonevilay Nampanya, conducted a curriculum review of the new veterinary degree at the National University of Laos (NUOL) at Nabong campus, near Vientiane capital, Lao PDR. This initiative, supported by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), followed an OIE-led PVS (Provision of Veterinary Services) mission several years ago, when it was recognised that Laos needed to produce veterinary graduates capable of delivering day one competencies (DOC) in veterinary public to meet the SPS (Sanitary & Phytosanitary Services) needs of the country, particularly with increasing Transboundary, Zoonotic and Emerging Disease threats.

Prof Peter Windsor (back) with Mr Sonevilay Nampanya (3rd from right) at NUOL Curriuculm Review Workshop in Laos, September 2014

Prof Peter Windsor (back) with Mr Sonevilay Nampanya (2nd from right) at NUOL Curriuculm Review Workshop in Laos, September 2014

NUOL Nabong campus produced the first cohort of 26 BVSc graduates in May 2013 with limited staff and facilities following commencement of training in 2008. Several initiatives are under discussion to provide continuing external support in veterinary teaching at NUOL, particularly with training in clinical practice and upgrading of courses in the veterinary public health disciplines, plus collaboration with USYD research and teaching projects. A proposed upgrade of the current 5 year BVSc to a 6 year DVM was suggested, to harmonise with similar degrees in the region. A new curriculum for the DVM was proposed to build more clarity in the learning for staff and students, and many new initiatives including innovative teaching methodologies in each Unit of Study were suggested to increases the responsibility of students for their own learning. Despite a range of opinions on the numbers of veterinarians required in Laos, there is some consensus that 25 to 30 new vets should graduate per annum, although placing these in employment will require considerable effort in building close stakeholder community partnerships, with several likely to be employed in a new livestock development project funded by ADB and IFAD, and in two new research projects funded by ACIAR, all now commencing in Laos.

Veterinary Teaching staff of the NUOL Naong campus during the curriculum review process in 2014, with Sonevilay Nampmanya (blue T shirt)

Veterinary Teaching staff of the NUOL Nabong campus during the curriculum review process in 2014, with Sonevilay Nampanya (blue T shirt)

The new ACIAR-funded projects are ‘Development of a Biosecure Market-driven production system in Lao PDR’ and ‘Enhancing Transboundary Livestock Disease Risk Management in Lao PDR’, both involving collaboration of the MLR of the USYD, with the Department of Livestock and Fisheries and the National Agricultural and Forestry research institute, plus NUOL and Savannakhet universities. Text books from USYD were presented to Dr Vannaphone Putthana of the Nabong campus Faculty at both a curriculum review workshop for ADB in late 2014, and an ACIAR project inception meeting workshop in Vientiane in February 2015, linking the NUOL curriculum review with current and future activities aimed at building TAD’s and EAD’s capacities in Laos and addressing food security and rural poverty through smallholder livestock development.

Prof Windsor presents veterinary text books donated by the University of Sydney to Dr Vannaphone Putthana, of NUOL Nabong at the ACIAR inception meeting in February 2015

Prof Windsor presents veterinary text books donated by the University of Sydney to Dr Vannaphone Putthana, of NUOL Nabong at the ACIAR project inception meeting in February 2015

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2014 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,000 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 50 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Trip Video from Indonesia

Something a little bit different… In November the MLR Team traveled to Indonesia to attend and present at the AAAP and the ACIAR Livestock Research Symposium. Due to a slight schedule error we arrived a day early and jumped at the chance to check out some of the sites. Here is a short video that includes: Borobudur Temple, Prambanan Temple, 4×4 driving on Merapi volcano, Luwak Civet Coffee… as well as one of the research sites in Lombok.