Dr. Benjamin Radihephi is a veterinary surgeon who runs an animal clinic in Gaborone which treats both domestic and wild animals.
“I graduated in 2001 from University of Melbourne, Australia where I did a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine (DVM), sponsored by government of course,” revealed the Vet who, upon graduating, returned home to work for government. However, six months into his new role, the good doctor’s feet began to itch. While studying Down Under, Radihephi had received four job offers in Australia. He decided to return to Oz and take up one of those offers.
“Six months into my job here in Phikwe, I realised I actually needed experience. It was important to get out of the country to get clinical experience,” he explained, adding he also wanted to further his studies in animal reproduction.
In Australia, his work included tending to a variety of animals, including pets and farm animals.
After four enlightening years, Radihephi moved to a different company whilst at the same time embarking on a Masters in Animal Reproduction.
“After about 12 years working overseas, I started thinking that now I have gathered enough experience and could come back home.”
In 2015 he moved back to Botswana, and, by the end of that year, set-up his own clinic.
According to Radihephi, his profession is a growing locally, with demand set to drastically outweigh supply.
“I would encourage youth because the way things are going, the country has about 170 to 180 Veterinary Surgeons and I read somewhere that for us be sufficient we need around 3, 000 in a country as big as Botswana!” With 90 percent of vet surgeons absorbed by government, Radihephi says there is a massive shortage in the private sector.
“It is a few of us in the private space, but what we know is that government cannot for infinity, employ a vet. At some point government is going to say my work force is too big. At that point we will need a lot of vets, but before then we need intermediate skills,” he highlighted.
He gave the example of horse handlers, which he explained are in short supply in the country due to a lack of local schools offering such courses.
“Those are very small skills, people do six months courses to know how to take care of a horse, but we don’t have even one single course in the country that addresses that. We have Bachelor of Animal Science, Diplomas of Animal Health, and yet we have such a gap!” he exclaimed, noting there is also a worrying lack of veterinary nurses in Botswana.
In conclusion, Radihephi says this is an industry on the rise, one which promises rich pickings to those willing to venture into it and work hard.