MAHABA Initiative Calls for Stakeholder Collaboration to Address Tick Control in Uganda
Fifty-eight percent of households in Uganda depend on livestock for their livelihoods. Most of them are subsistence-oriented smallholders. According to the 2018 UBOS livestock census, In Uganda there are 14.2 million cattle, 16 million goats, 4.5 million sheep, 47.6 million poultry and 4.1 million pigs .
However, the continued emergence of tick and tickborne diseases continues to threaten the livestock sector and its productivity. It is further reported that annually Uganda is losing an estimated $1.1billion as a result of ticks and tickborne diseases
In a collaborative effort to combat the impact of TIcks and TIckborne diseases (TBDs) in Uganda’s livestock industry, the Managing Animal Health and Acaricides for Beter Africa (MAHABA) Initiative, along with key stakeholders, convened to prioritize key areas for tick control. The stakeholders, included veterinarians, extension staff, farmers, processors, and government representatives.
Dr. Anna Rose Ademun, acting director and Commissioner livestock directorate at the ministry of agriculture animal industry and fisheries in Uganda, appreciated the MAHABA initiative saying this was going to help emphasize a national-level approach to tick control and the importance of using physical barriers to separate and zone acaricides.
‘I welcome this initiative, I have been struggling to bring together many stakeholders to ensure we manage the use , import and sale of arcaricides. Arcaricides are becoming resistant, we need to ensure we have this collaboration to get solutions to the problem, we cannot do it alone anymore.’ Said Ademun
The commissioner further highlighted the ongoing efforts by the Uganda’s Agriculture ministry, in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to support the diagnosis of tick resistance to acaricides at regional laboratory centers. She said FAO had supported in establishment of some few diagnostic laboratories in different areas.
The MAHABA initiative is a shared value initiative designed to help deliver sustainable solutions that help small scale producers tap the full potential of their livestock. The initiative aims to support small-scale producers in Uganda and Nigeria by defining and implementing strategies to effectively control tick infestations in cattle.
To support farmers in managing tick infestations, the MAHABA Initiative pre-launched the TickAcademy app during the stakeholder convening. The app, which will be available on Uganda’s Google and Apple stores by the end of January 2024, provides educational content, including easy to understand videos, to empower farmers and extension staff with knowledge on tick control. Materials will also be available in Luganda and Runyakitara which will be added in version 2.0 of the app.
Attendees highlighted the importance of an integrated approach for tick control, which includes extension services driven by farmer cooperatives in alignment with local authorities. They also recognized the significance of policy review and the implementation of measures to tackle tick resistance.
Enrique Hernández Pando, Head of Commercial Development and Impact at GALVmed, emphasized the significance of the MAHABA Initiative in addressing acaricide resistance issues.
“The MAHABA initiative will provide local animal health officers and farmers in Uganda with innovative solutions to help address current acaricide resistance issues and create transformational change in the livestock industry,” said Hernández Pando.
The stakeholders agreed that this engagement will be ongoing, with a joint commitment to support farmers in addressing the burden of ticks and tick resistance. Building on Uganda’s National Action Plan for the Management of Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases (NAPM-T&TBD) and working with MAAIF’s guidance, stakeholders agreed that they need to capitalize on current efforts and support MAAIF’s goals, thereby contributing to the growth of Uganda’s livestock sector and livelihoods.
Nishal Gunpath, Country Director South and Sub-Saharan Africa for Elanco Animal Health, expressed the company’s commitment to the MAHABA Initiative and its goal of making a positive impact in the livestock sector. “MAHABA is part of our commitment to a business with a purpose in this emerging farming segment,” said Gunpath. “We aim to meaningfully engage in this market, beyond the product offering, so that small-scale livestock producers can tap into the potential of their livestock.”
Elanco Animal Health Incorporated (NYSE: ELAN) is a global leader in animal health dedicated to innovang and delivering products and services to prevent and treat disease in farm animals and pets, increasing value for farmers, pet owners, veterinarians, stakeholders, and society as a whole. With nearly 70 years of animal health heritage, we are committed to helping our customers improve the health of animals in their care, while also making a meaningful impact on our local and global communities. At Elanco, we are driven by our vision of Food and Companionship Enriching Life and our Elanco Healthy Purpose™ Sustainability Pledges –all to advance the health of animals, people, and the planet.
GALVmed (Global Alliance for Livestock Veterinary Medicines) works with partners to make livestock vaccines, medicines and diagnostics accessible and available to millions of smallholder farmers in developing countries who depend on livestock for their livelihood. The international not-for-profit company aims to make a significant contribution towards transformational change in the smallholder livestock health landscape by developing a portifolio of high-impact products and initiating a range of private sector market initiatives operating at scale in the smallholder sector in Africa and South Asia. GALVmed is headquartered in Edinburgh, Scotland with regional offices in Nairobi, Kenya and New Delhi, India and funded by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundaon and UK aid from the UK Government. Website: www.galvmed.org
ABOUT THE MAHABA INITIATIVE
The MAHABA Initiative is a collaborative effort by Elanco Animal Health and GALVmed to address tickborne diseases and tick resistance issues in livestock. Through innovative solutions, education, and stakeholder engagement, the MAHABA Initiative aims to support small-scale livestock producers and transform the livestock industry. MAHABA is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. For more information visit Africa Iniaves – GALVmed.
By: komujuni Mary