The Swiss Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office launched a pig health pilot project, which aimed to increase the skills of specialized pig health veterinarians, to improve the quality of pig farm health management and to strengthen the collaboration between pig health veterinarians and laboratories. With support of the pilot project, selected pig health veterinarians conducted detailed on-farm investigations of dead pigs, collected samples based on their first findings and submitted these for further laboratory diagnostics. Based on the results of the on-farm investigation and laboratory diagnostics, the veterinarians consulted the pig farmers on measures to improve the pig health situation. The pilot project was accompanied by an evaluation process to document the results and determine the impact of the pilot project.
Together with the Swiss Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office we developed the program theory of the pilot project to make its structure, activities and intended results transparent. Subsequently we identified the key aspects for the interim evaluation as well as the key aspects for the final evaluation. We designed and conducted the data collection process for each evaluation. Finally, we collated the results of the data collection in an interim report and a final report and presented these to the steering group of the pilot project.
The interim evaluation, for which data collection was conducted 6 months after the start of the pilot project, demonstrated that stakeholders were satisfied with implementation modalities and were optimistic that the pilot project would achieve its intended objectives. Minor recommendations for improvement of the implementation modalities were identified. The final evaluation was conducted at the end of the 18-month implementation period. The results showed that the pilot project achieved its objectives and made a contribution to the longterm goals of improved animal health, reduced antimicrobial usage and a stronger animal disease early warning system. Decisions about the transfer of the pilot project into a permanent mechanism will be based on the results of our evaluation, among others.
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