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The following guidelines consider relatively large-scale establishment of PHCs, usually at country level. This approach offers significant advantages in facilitating access to expert support. Single or small groups of PHCs can be run independently, but establishing links will require more effort. 

Getting started: Planning should ideally start with the Ministry of Agriculture and the NPPO. This will strengthen sustainability but can also be a lengthy process. It should be possible to start pilot PHCs with individual organisations, pending official government support. Early results help to demonstrate the clinics’ wider value and encourage official support and investment. 

Identifying operators: The functions and features of a PHC need to be clearly described and discussed with potential operators before launching. Extension providers are often concerned about the extent of their knowledge of crop protection, yet familiarity with farmers and agriculture is equally vital in framing advice. It is important to discuss PHC results and experiences with staff as well as their managers, so that the value of PHCs to organisations is clearly understood. 

Development stages: 

  1. Scoping study of organisations working in plant health at national and regional levels to assess roles and interactions 
  2. Piloting of PHCs with first-time organisations 
  3. Consolidation – regular clinics are run by confirmed operators 
  4. Scaling-up – the number of clinics expands and new operators take part 
  5. Sustainability – stable operation of plant clinics as part of a functioning plant health system. 

This is an ambitious series of steps for countries to complete, and requires strong overall leadership and support at high level within government, as seen in Kenya, for example.

BOX 2: Training of plant doctors 

Plantwise offers two short training courses (5). Module 1 is on field diagnosis and running plant clinics. Module 2 is on developing good recommendations. The two- to three-day courses accommodate up to 20–25 people and are run by trainers trained by CABI staff. Plant doctors can access further training material as well as extension literature via the Plantwise website (6). Supplementary courses on writing fact sheets and monitoring progress are also held.

Coordination: The Plantwise programme has national coordinators seconded from public organisations, supported by CABI counterparts (7)

CABI. 2015. Plantwise Annual Report 2015. Wallingford, UK: CABI.
. Countries with large, autonomous states (e.g. India and Brazil) may require more than one coordinator. High-level planning is carried out by a national forum comprising plant health stakeholders from the public, private, and civil society sectors. Annual meetings review overall progress and functioning of a national plant health system. Planning and monitoring of regular activities are carried out by a steering committee, which can also help to coordinate responses to pest and disease outbreaks. Staff from different PHCs operating within a small area may hold cluster meetings to discuss and review matters of interest.