In memoriam. Stuart Kenneth Hargreaves, DVM, 1946-2012. The humanist veterinarian from Zimbabwe who was committed to the improvement of animal health in Africa
Foot and mouth disease
DOAJ:Agriculture and Food Sciences
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AbstractZimbabwe Society for Animal Production Gold Medal Award for outstanding contribution to the livestock industryJ F Kapnek Charitable Trust Award for exceptional managerial commitment to the Zimbabwe Veterinary Journal and contributions to the veterinary professionCommercial Farmers’ Union Farming Oscar for outstanding contribution to the livestock industry and in particular ensuring continued beef exportsResearch Council of Zimbabwe award for distinguished contribution to the agricultural sector in the service of ZimbabweOIE Meritorious Medal, 20112011 World Veterinary Day Commemorative Award from Fellow Veterinary Professionals of Zimbabwe for many years of committed service to the Zimbabwe Veterinary ProfessionNational Liberation War Hero of ZimbabweStuart Kenneth Hargreaves was born in Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia, on 6 August 1946. He attended Routledge and Prince Edward schools in Salisbury. After studying at the University of Natal, South Africa, he graduated in veterinary medicine at Onderstepoort (University of Pretoria) in 1970. He passed away on 28 August 2012 in Harare, Zimbabwe.He devoted his entire career to Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Agriculture, initially as a field and provincial veterinary officer (1971-1983: Zvishavane, Bindura and Harare), then Deputy Director (1983-1988) and Director (1988-2002) before being promoted to Principal Director, Livestock and Veterinary Services (2002-2012). He held this position from its inception until his death. He acted as Permanent Secretary within the Ministry of Agriculture on numerous occasions.Dr Hargreaves untiringly defended and argued for the countries of Africa on the international animal health stage and contributed to securing the voice Africa now enjoys in international animal health debates. He was ahead of the times in a number of areas, for example in vigorously defending, with others, the commodity-based trade principle. The success of this approach demonstrated that products could be traded safely from Africa and other developing countries and provided a case example for use internationally.He was particularly skilled in the management of infectious diseases (such as foot and mouth disease [FMD] and rinderpest of cattle) which can have serious repercussions on national economies and also on the livelihood of small farmers. His observations and knowledge influenced the elaboration of standards for certain diseases, moving them from a ‘risk-free’ approach, often favoured by developed countries, to a more facilitative and sensible ‘risk managed’ approach to support trade and marketing.His dedication to the management of animal health in southern Africa, and in Zimbabwe in particular, was widely recognised. There are few who would approach the breadth and depth of his professional competence, vision and initiative.In Zimbabwe, he dealt with all major animal health problems, including FMD, rabies and anthrax. He was instrumental in the creation of the Tsetse and Trypanosomiasis Control Branch which led to Zimbabwe being recognised as a Centre of Excellence for tsetse fly control in the region. He personally pioneered investigations into the role of FMD carrier cattle in the epidemiology of the disease; the result of his work has had a major impact on FMD control strategies in the region and internationally. He was responsible for taking charge of a massive outbreak of FMD in 1978 that was eventually controlled after the cessation of hostilities in Zimbabwe in 1980. His involvement in the control and eradication of FMD from Mashonaland in this outbreak must rank as outstanding. He was considered an authority on the disease internationally.In Zimbabwe, Dr Hargreaves also had personal responsibility for the design and establishment of wildlife conservancies resulting in land utilisation improvements in arid regions, wildlife health and disease control (thereby also contributing the tourist industry), improvements to legislation, introduction of a residue testing programme for exported meats, promotion of on-farm assurance schemes to improve food safety, introduction of a cattle identification scheme in a large country with very limited resources, institutional reforms, establishment of community-based animal health workers and the strengthening and development of links between the public sector and the livestock industry, the highly successful introduction of sustainable cost recovery for services delivered, revolving funds and core functions analysis, diagnostics, research and veterinary public health. He also participated in animal health and veterinary services consultancies in different countries.He provided guidance and training for less experienced staff after Independence in 1980 on all veterinary issues. He provided leadership, always encouraging a harmonious and constructive approach. Dr Hargreaves was always generous with his time, knowledge and expertise. His ethics were recognised by all; he saw beyond age, status, race, colour, creed and religion.Dr Hargreaves and others were asked to establish a curriculum for the new Faculty of Veterinary Science at the University of Zimbabwe in 1981. In the first ten years of its existence, graduates from the Faculty achieved almost a 100% success rate when writing the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons examinations. The level of tuition remains high to this day.His work also included involvement with all other countries in the region and internationally. In 1984, Zimbabwe received approval to export beef to the lucrative markets of the European Union. Under the authority of Dr Hargreaves, Zimbabwe increased its export quota to these markets until 2001 when civil indiscipline and uncontrolled movements of livestock brought exports to an end. He upheld his country’s veterinary services in the face of adversity and profound economic turmoil.He had a love and an enduring commitment to the country of his birth. Even in the darkest of times, he always supported agriculture and the improvement of the socio-economic well-being of his country.Dr Hargreaves was the President of the Regional Commission for Africa of the World Organisation for Animal Health (Office International des Épizooties: OIE) from 1995 to 1997 and was elected for four consecutive three-year terms as one of the five members of the standard-setting International Terrestrial Animal Health Code Commission from 2000 to 2012. He was an OIE expert for the evaluation of veterinary services and conducted study tours to evaluate the delivery of veterinary services in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania. He established himself in a short period of time as someone to listen to, bringing to the fore the lessons and experiences of animal health issues in Zimbabwe and influencing the development of OIE standards and guidelines. His approach resonated with other developing countries, not only in Africa but in other parts of the world, arguably leading the current more active intellectual involvement of developing countries in the OIE which had, until then, been somewhat dominated by the developed nations.The advice of Dr Hargreaves as a Member of the Editorial Board of Veterinaria Italiana was always greatly valued.An area where he stood heads and shoulders above the rest was his exceptional people skills. He was admired and respected by people from all walks of life. He had a relaxed and unassuming nature, despite his notoriety.As a friend, Stuart’s honesty, loyalty and sincerity were of the highest order. His humour was second to none. He was often the life and soul of social gatherings and one would know that Stuart would never be far from where the laughter was loudest; he had a wide array of fun stories and comical experiences of his own; the manner in which he told them was exceptional and will be remembered by all who knew him.Stuart was athletic and played for Mashonaland Under 20 and Natal Under 20 rugby teams as a hooker. During his student days, he was an outstanding long-distance runner and competed in many races in the Transvaal. His passion for sport continued throughout his life, particularly for rugby.Stuart will be remembered as a humanist and someone of great humility, integrity and modesty.