The government has harmonised fees charged by veterinary doctors, a move that, according to Rwanda Council of Veterinary Doctors, will address issues where each veterinarian was setting their own prices.
The doctors claimthe quality of servicesthey give outweighs the prices they charge. The fees provided in the ministerial order exclude transport cost; they are solely for veterinary services.
Artificial Insemination (AI) for large animals will cost between Rwf1000 to Rwf5000 (for one service) while small ruminants is between Rwf1000-Rwf2000 but AI for pig is charged between Rwf2000-Rwf4000.
Bovine Embryo Transfer (ET) costs Rwf10,000 to Rwf15,000; while that for small animals is between Rwf5000-Rwf10,000.
Embryo transfer (ET) refers to an assisted reproduction using advanced reproductive technology by which embryos are placed into the uterus of a female with the intention of establishing a pregnancy.
Assistance to normal delivery in large animals goes for Rwf10,000-Rwf15,000; but it is Rwf3000-Rwf4000 for assistance to normal delivery in small animals.
Caesarian section - the use of surgery to deliver offspring is Rwf50,000 to 75,000 for large animals; and Rwf10,000 to 20,000 for small ruminants. Veterinary consultation at farm level (mammals, poultry, aquaculture, bees) is Rwf5,000 to 10,000.
Speaking to Sunday Times yesterday, the Chairman of National Dairy Farmers' Federation of Rwanda (NDFFR), GahigaGashumba, said that the availability of veterinarians and their services is still low because they are far, which delays services to farmers.
However, he added that what was most important was the quick response and quality service. He observed that some prices [under the Ministerial Order] were high such as the treatment for a goat which costs Rwf20,000 yet the value for the goat might be Rwf10,000 [depending on its size].
He said that there is still a gap in artificial insemination because technicians in this field are still few.
"We need timing. When a vet delays to reach the livestock farmer for artificial insemination, their cow or another domestic animal will fail to conceive, which is a loss," he said.
The average conception rate of cows in Rwanda is 40 per cent, according to Rwanda Council of Veterinary Doctors.
Another issue, Gashumba said, is in making accurate diagnosis to ascertain a specific disease that a livestock such as a cow is suffering from for immediate and effective response.
"The veterinary doctor does not come and take a sample, diagnose it and give you results immediately. They first take a sample and bring results after about three days," he said calling for more efforts in building infrastructure like enough laboratory equipment for rapid testing which will diagnose and treat animals within a short period of time.
Dr. Alphonse Nshimiyimana, the Executive Secretary of Rwanda Council of Veterinary Doctors told Sunday Times that a veterinarian in the past charged fees for the services the way they wanted.
He pointed out that they were going to discuss the exception of Girinka - One Cow per poor Family - Programme beneficiaries because they cannot afford such medical services for their livestock as they are financially vulnerable.
"What is intended is to ensure that we facilitate the Girinka beneficiary get veterinary services. The beneficiary will get services, and before his/her cow has given birth, they will not be asked to pay the due fee. We will facilitate them. But, once their cow has given birth, because they have milk, they can pay the dues," he said.
For public veterinarians working at local community level, they are facilitated by the government and should not charge money as the private veterinarians do.
So far there are about 2,000 veterinarians registered with the council.