The Southern African Society for Veterinary Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine (SASVEPM) was formed at the end of 2000, with the objective of promoting veterinary epidemiology and preventive medicine in the Southern African region.One of the reasons for starting a regional society was the realisation that we have unique problems and circumstances in Africa that require us to formulate a unique brand of epidemiology that can be applied in the region.
The best people to do this are the Africans themselves. For too long resources had been wasted on disease surveillance and control because of a lack of understanding about epidemiology or because of the application of methodology that is inadequate for our region.
Our biggest problem was the lack of capacity in the discipline. We therefore needed a forum that would enable those with some expertise, or an interest, to cross pollinate expertise and ideas, with the objective of building capacity in the region, but also of creating a unique methodology applicable to our region.
The Society also aims to enhance communication between epidemiologists in the region. With the weakness of the currencies in the region it is also becoming increasingly difficult to attend conferences or continuing education courses overseas; a regional society thus allows local veterinarians to attain these goals at an affordable cost.
SASVEPM now has a multi-national membership of over 200, including private vets, state vets, vets in industry and others in academia and research. To date the Society has held fourteen Annual Congresses, which have been a highly successful blend of scientific papers, posters and continuing education (CE) sessions. SASVEPM also hosted the twelfth International Symposium for Veterinary Epidemiology and Economics (ISVEE XII) during August 2009 at the ICC in Durban.