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Are government veterinary paraprofessionals serving the poor? The perceptions of smallholder livestock farmers in Western Kenya


The liberalization of clinical veterinary services in Kenya introduced new service providers into the animal health service sector. This study examines the perceptions of livestock farmers regarding these service providers and analyses the factors that influence their choice of alternative service providers in Kakamega County. The empirical analysis shows that private animal health assistants were perceived to provide better services than alternative providers because they are more accessible and offer services on credit. Results from a multinomial logit model reveal that more educated, wealthier, and older farmers are more likely to use government services. The study concludes that it is imperative to better target the poor and to integrate private service providers into government animal health programs.

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    Farmers who treated their livestock by themselves are part of the non-trained service provider category in the MNLM analysis. Further analysis was undertaken to disaggregate treatment by self and only non-trained service providers into separate categories, there was no significant difference between the two results. The probability of farmers who treated livestock by themselves to perform similar services for other farmers underpins the aggregation. Three veterinary surgeons are part of the private animal health assistant category but they did not perform any substantial clinical services.


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The authors acknowledge the financial assistance from the Evangelischer Entwicklungsdienst (EED), Bonn, and the Institute of Agricultural Economics and Social Sciences in the Tropics and Sub–Tropics, University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Germany. We thank the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest

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Correspondence to Tobias Onyango K’Oloo.

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K’Oloo, T.O., Ilukor, J., Mockshell, J. et al. Are government veterinary paraprofessionals serving the poor? The perceptions of smallholder livestock farmers in Western Kenya. Trop Anim Health Prod 47, 243–245 (2015).

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  • Veterinary service provision
  • Privatization
  • Poverty
  • Public health
  • Kenya