ISAVET scientists ask government to construct laboratories help fight zoonosis and trans boundaries diseases
In-Service Applied Veterinary and Epidemiology scientists have asked government to construct functional veterinary laboratories to help them fight against Zoonosis and trans boundaries diseases in animals.
According to the scientists who noted that the spread of the diseases mainly Anthrax, rabies and Brucellosis among others now standing at 73% in animals also affects human beings.
David Omongot the president of In-Service Allied Veterinary Epidemiology Training (ISAVET) Cohort 4 said while addressing the state minister for animal husbandry Lt Col (RTD) Bright Rwamirama.
The minister was passing out passing out 30 ISAVET officer who under went at four months training of Course 4 CHORT at the Civil Service College Uganda (CSCU) in Jinja city where nine were female while 21 males.
“We don’t have laboratories to test for the zoonosis and trans boundary diseases. The districts with the existing structures are not functional, its our humble request for government to put in place these structures since the diseases which are now at a high rate also affect human,” he said.
Omongot who is also the Kalangala district animal husbandry officer noted that with the training they have gained skills on how to handle disease investigations, improve reporting , finding ways of control and prevention.
He said that other challenges include lack of transportation in hard to reach areas like island districts and /areas for effective service delivery.
Omongot asked the minister to closely follow up on the Veterinary Act which is before the president to be signed into a working document in-order to safeguard there provisions and also empower them to register with the Uganda veterinary association to be legally allowed to operate.
Doctor Denis Mande the Lyantonde district veterinary which lies in the cattle corridor he said they are faced with anthrax and rabies from stray dogs which attack people. He noted that with Brucellosis its mainly from bulls that are bought from Northern Uganda for crossbreeding before testing due to lack of a laboratory.
Dr Anna Rose Ademun Okurut the commissioner in charge of animal husbandry informed the minister that they need to increase sector work force which standards at 5% only adding that most of the time the work force spends 75% of the time at university while 25% which is for practical isn’t well utilized due to lack of enough funding which causes power service delivery.
She called upon the ministry and FAO to stimulate more funding for the program for better service delivery since most extension workers learn on job which disappoints clients.
Minister Rwamirama explained that since ISAVET’S Initiation in 2018 in Uganda, a total of five (5) cohort trainings, where 117 trainees graduated across different cohorts there is still a short fall of manpower.
“Despite this progress, the program’s objective is to have one trained ISAVET officer per sub-county, given Uganda’s 2,184 sub-counties. With only 117 individuals trained thus far, there remains a shortfall of 2,067 personnel. It is imperative that collaborative efforts are intensified to meet this target and ensure the sustained success of the program,” he said.
He noted that the broad objective of the program which is in line with the government’s effort to improve animal health, production, and marketing is to enhance the country’s ability to predict, prepare and respond with recovery from Zoonosis and Trans-boundary Animal Diseases (TADs) of emerging infections and reinfections which stands at 75%.
Rwamirama noted that the government is in the process of increasing on the salaries of ISAVET scientists aimed at also attracting more people join the sector and also have competent workers in agricultural extension transformation and Agro-industrialization.
He noted that if the government has to transform in this direction, it has to put in more resources for increased renumeration with facilitation and this will be addressed in the next financial year budget.
“According to our plan, government is set to renumerate ISAVET officers by 40%. Once our partners increase by 40% then we shall also do the same to boast and attract more on board,” he said.
He tasked the Dr Anna Rose Ademun Okurut the commissioner in charge of animal industry to come up with a proposal that will be tabled before cabinet so that improved transport in form of motorized boats and motorcycles are secured for officers in hard to reach areas.
“Now our officers can effectively contribute to animal production and productivity, animal health, and welfare through the prevention and control of animal diseases. This is coupled with Improved animal health results in increased animal productivity, enhancing the contribution of the livestock subsector to the national Gross Domestic Production, “he said.
Antonio Querido the FAO country representative said ISAVET training will help to fill the important gap in veterinary epidemiologists at all levels of the animal health workforce in the country through developing zoonotic disease control and eradication strategies will benefit from greater awareness and understanding of the synergies.
Querido said the one Health approach promotes multi-sectoral and multi-disciplinary collaboration ensures public and environmental health by reducing disease risks of diseases and zoonosis and Trans boundary epidemics. Ends