Dr. Joseph Adongo Avuni, leading virologist from Africa, ‘NUBiP of Ukraine is the best university to study to become a veterinarian’

February 10, 2022
    Our guest today is a graduate of the Veterinary Faculty of the Ukrainian Agricultural Academy (now the National University of Life and Environmental Sciences of Ukraine).
  • Introduce yourself, please.

     —  I am a veterinary consultant specializing in veterinary virology. I was born on March 19, 1960, in the village of Yorogo in the Upper Eastern Region of Ghana (West Africa) to a peasant farming family. My family had a lot of cattle and sheep, so I grazed them on weekends and holidays. This aroused my interest in taking a course in veterinary medicine. By God's grace, I received a Soviet scholarship to study veterinary medicine and, fortunately, was admitted to the Veterinary Faculty of the Ukrainian Agricultural Academy in Kyiv.

  • What can you tell about your student years spent in Kyiv?

     —  In September 1985, I began my first year at the Veterinary Faculty together with other students from many countries. I lived in a dormitory with Soviet students, who helped me to gradually assimilate. The education was very intense and interesting. The teachers were very dedicated, highly competent and eager to help all foreign students. Those who I can recall at once are Professor Herman Oleksandrovych Gimmelreich (anatomy), Associate Professor Dmytro Mykhailovych Vovk (pharmacology), Professor of Gynecology/Obstetrics Ivan Serhiyovych Nahornyy and Associate Professor Volodymyr Petrovych Polishchuk. The course programs were well structured, so there were a lot of practical classes. The academy had several livestock farms, where students were regularly involved in internships. Studying at the Veterinary Faculty of the Ukrainian Agricultural Academy prepared me very well as a professional veterinarian. I returned to Ghana and devoted my whole life to veterinary medicine. I am infinitely grateful to my home faculty.

  • Tell me about your career path after graduation from the Ukrainian Agricultural Academy.

     — When I returned to Ghana, I worked in the Ghanaian government as a veterinary specialist at the Accra Veterinary Laboratory (Accra is the capital of Ghana) of the Directorate of Veterinary Services of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture. After several postgraduate trainings, I became the head of the laboratory and was recognised as an expert of the International Veterinary Laboratory in Virology. For many years, I had contracts with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) for the practical training of veterinary laboratory staff in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Malawi and Uganda. I am currently working as a FAO consultant on a foot-and-mouth disease project for West Africa. I believe that all my achievements rely upon the knowledge I have received at the Veterinary Faculty of the Ukrainian Agricultural Academy.


  • Did you visit your Alma Mater after graduating?

     — After graduating from the academy in 1990, I always dreamed of returning to my Alma Mater to express my sincere gratitude, but unfortunately I could not do it for several reasons, including the recent COVID-19 pandemic. However, I regularly follow the achievements of my dear Veterinary Faculty on the Internet. Due to the significant research accomplishments the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine was recognized as one of the best in Ukraine, and I’m really proud to be its graduate.


  • What advice can you give to Ukrainian young people, who want to become veterinarians?

     — I am infinitely grateful to my faculty for the knowledge and skills that I have, so my advice is for Ukrainian entrants and for entrants from all over the world, including Africa. Choose the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the National University of Life and Environmental Sciences of Ukraine, (former Ukrainian Agricultural Academy)!

    I once again want to thank the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and wish my Alma Mater even greater achievements.


  • Thank you for the pleasant conversation.

     — And I sincerely thank you for bringing me back to my youth. I hope to see you soon at my home faculty.


The conversation was conducted by the Head of
Academician Volodymyr Kasyanenko Department of Animal Anatomy,
Histology and Pathomorphology,
Oleh Melnyk


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