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The humans behind
animal health

Activity report 2022

For this reason, the veterinary workforce has a key role to play in improving global health.
In 2022, the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) pursued its mission to help its Members empower their veterinary workforce, for everyone’s benefit.

Animal health is everyone’s health. This is not just our motto: animal, human and plant health are interconnected in a way that a health threat to one becomes a threat to all; and animals are crucial to human well-being and livelihoods.

In our interconnected world, no single organisation can tackle global health challenges on its own.

In 2022, WOAH joined forces with partner organisations to implement a global One Health agenda.

In this approach, the veterinary workforce plays an essential role.

"The veterinary workforce plays a key role in the global One Health agenda"

Monique Éloit, WOAH Director General

2022 milestones in our support to the veterinary workforce

Source: Observatory Annual Report, 2022

A limited number of WOAH Members have a veterinary workforce with access to sufficient resources.

million people


form the global veterinary workforce

workforce unit


is employed for every 2,611 cattle



livestock animals

The veterinary workforce in figures

How does the veterinary workforce contribute to society?

Veterinarians in the field

In farms, clinics and aquaculture establishments, they play a key role in keeping livestock, pets and aquatic animal populations healthy. They assist farmers and animal owners in implementing good husbandry practices and encourage responsible use of medicines.

Veterinarians at border control

They play an essential role in guaranteeing animal health and welfare, as well as food safety in our societies. They make sure import and export regulations for animals and animal products are respected.

Researchers in laboratories

Veterinarians and veterinary paraprofessionals in laboratories improve diagnostics, advance research on animal diseases and zoonoses, and develop new medicines and vaccines to improve global health.

Data analysts

They make sense of the disease surveillance data collected in the field. By extracting constants and trends, they are able to predict the transmission and spread of diseases, analyse strengths and weaknesses in animal health systems, and design better strategies to prevent or manage outbreaks.

Veterinary authorities

They design and implement national policies and strategies on animal health and welfare, as well as on animal-based food production. They also represent the veterinary workforce in national, regional and international discussions. Thanks to them, the realities in the field are brought to the attention of decision makers and other institutions.

Veterinarians in slaughterhouses

They ensure the animal products that reach consumers are safe, and that regulations regarding meat and fish production are respected. They are key actors of our societies’ food security and safety, while they also play a role in ensuring the humane treatment of animals at slaughter.

Veterinary paraprofessionals and community animal health workers in the field

Under the supervision of veterinarians, they support a wide range of animal health activities. They can provide basic veterinary health care services in remote or underserved places, where veterinarians may not be available. They may vaccinate animals, share good practices with farmers, and alert veterinary authorities of any outbreak risks.

Epidemiologists in the field

Epidemiologists monitor animal health, study disease patterns, investigate outbreaks and prevent pathogen spillovers.

Hover on the highlighted visuals to discover

This infographic is not a real-life representation. It is a basic and schematic illustration of the numerous professions that are part of the veterinary workforce. It does not aim to be exhaustive.

Meet Lisa and Omar. How does their work concern you?

Providing resources, tools and training
to the veterinary workforce

Pandemic risk is at an all-time high in a globalised world, affected by climate change. In this context, the veterinary workforce is at the forefront of the fight against animal diseases, whether they are zoonoses that can affect human health directly, or diseases that can decimate livestock, wildlife or aquatic species and thus impact on animal welfare and human livelihoods.

WOAH provides resources, tools and training to empower the veterinary workforce in all countries.

In a highly interconnected world, emergencies such as disease outbreaks as well as agro-crime events, conflicts or natural disasters can have cascading effects on animal health with heavy consequences on society as a whole. In 2022, WOAH supported emergency preparedness in the veterinary workforce by encouraging the implementation of ambitious cross-sectoral simulation exercises.

Field simulation trainings to
support emergency preparedness

Qualified veterinary paraprofessionals are essential to maintain animal health and reach rural populations that do not have access to veterinarians. Recognising their vital importance, WOAH organised VPP curriculum development workshops in several countries in 2022. The goal: to empower veterinary paraprofessionals through education.

Empowering veterinary paraprofessionals through education

WOAH developed international standards to improve animal welfare during transport. Yet numerous professionals admit gaps remain between national regulations and their implementation in the field. In 2022, a workshop was held to address these gaps and help Members comply with WOAH standards.

Animal transport: implementing welfare regulations in the field

Building proximity beyond borders through networks and digitalisation

Because we are stronger together, and because diseases know no borders, empowering the veterinary workforce also means encouraging common work by fostering the creation of networks between countries. To encourage knowledge-sharing on global issues such as AMR, WOAH also collects and analyses data from Members. In 2022, we published the first Observatory Annual Report on the implementation of standards, to gain perspective on global challenges and provide the best possible service to our Members.

We also continued to foster proximity with first-line stakeholders in the fight against animal diseases by offering our Members an important panel of digital support, accessible to anyone, anywhere in the world.

Expertise networks bring together scientists to help countries fight diseases. OFFLU is one of them, established jointly by WOAH and FAO to foster collaboration on animal influenza. Interview with Professor Ian Brown, chairman of OFFLU’s steering committee.

Expertise networks: “We are the eyes and ears on animal influenza”

“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” Data scientists’ favourite motto applies to one of the most pressing global challenges of our times: antimicrobial resistance (AMR). In 2022, WOAH launched its new digital platform, ANIMUSE. Its aim: to help curb AMR through better monitoring of antimicrobial use in animals.

ANIMUSE: monitoring antimicrobial use in animals

To which degree have digital capacity building activities become an asset for the veterinary workforce in the post-COVID era? In 2022, WOAH significantly increased its use of hybrid formats, offering blended virtual and face-to-face activities for users. Beneficiaries across regions, from the United Arab Emirates to Argentina, testify to the efficiency and utility of this approach.

Capacity building: scaling up WOAH’s digital support for the veterinary workforce

Innovating to improve surveillance and early-warning systems

Because we recognise that the increased opportunities for interactions between humans, domesticated animals and livestock mean a higher risk of pathogens spillover, WOAH supports Members in enhancing their early-warning and surveillance systems.

In 2022, we have kept encouraging the creation of innovative solutions that stimulate cross-sectoral collaborations, give a central role to the veterinary workforce and involve local populations.

What if risk areas for vector-borne diseases could be predicted just like the weather? In 2022, WOAH entrusted experts of its Reference Center IZS-Teramo to develop an innovative prediction model for Rift Valley fever in North Africa. Researchers Annamaria Conte and Paolo Calistri explain the PROVNA project.

Early-warning systems: modeling the spread of vector-borne diseases

As humans increasingly encroach on previously wild land, interactions between humans, domesticated animals, and wildlife have become more frequent. In 2022, WOAH continued to support innovative solutions to enhance surveillance systems at the human-animal-environment interface.

Protecting wildlife health by enhancing surveillance systems

©World Organisation for Animal Health 2023

Iconographic credits

All images on this website belong to WOAH. Some of them have been gathered through the different editions of the OIE photo competition.

Getty; CIDASC – Companhia Integrada de Desenvolvimento Agrícola de Santa Catarina; World Organisation for Animal Health/A. Ahmed; Getty; Getty; Getty; Servicio Nacional de Sanidad y Calidad Agroalimentaria (SENASA) Argentina; Getty, Getty.

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WOAH thanks its resource partners for their investments and support. The list below recognises all investors having an active grant with WOAH in 2022 (in alphabetical order): 

Members: Australia, Canada, China (People’s Rep. of), Colombia, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea (Rep. of), Mexico, the Netherlands (through the AMR MPTF), New Zealand, Spain, Sweden (through the AMR-MPTF), Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States of America. 

International Organisations: European Union, World Bank Group, Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations. 

Philanthropic foundations/private sector associations/non-governmental organisations: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Donkey Sanctuary, Four Paws, Galvmed, International Coalition for Working Equids, International Horse Sports Confederation, Organismo Internacional Regional de Sanidad Agropecuaria, Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, St Jude’s Hospital.