Funding Animal Healthcare Systems: Mechanisms and Options
Consumer-driven demand for meat and dairy products is driving an increase in livestock production and demand for improved animal healthcare services. These must be effective, affordable and accessible to ensure a profitable livestock sector. Especially important are the needs of poor livestock keepers who may have no other means of livelihood and who, following privatisation, may have become excluded from animal healthcare services.
Animal healthcare has far-reaching implications. Increased livestock production brings risks to public health from greater animal-human contact and zoonotic diseases. There are potential environmental hazards as well as issues of food safety and the need to ensure trade standards are met. But effective, comprehensive animal healthcare services are expensive. At a time when demand is increasing but government budgets for veterinary services are declining, how could such services be funded? The purpose of this Working Paper is to study a wide range of funding mechanisms in both developed and developing countries.
The author discusses the process of collecting revenue from sources ranging from individual households to foreign governments through, for example, direct and indirect taxation, fees and user charges, compulsory or private insurance contributions, levies, and international loans or grants. Mechanisms for pooling funds, distributing them and providing services are also described in some detail. Useful comparisons are made with the funding and provision of human healthcare services. Animal healthcare services are usually funded from a mix of sources and some sources will be more directly linked to effective and fair service provision than others. Many practical examples of funding mechanisms are given, and their impact on service provision is described.
The author emphasises the need for transparency in revenue collection and service provision and suggests that further research would help to provide the basis for improvement. Above all, the needs of different users for animal health services should be assessed so that funds collected are appropriately and accurately allocated.
A two page executive summary is also available in addition to this paper.
PPLPI, FAO, Rome, Italy, vi+38 pp.