Uganda’s Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries expressed its determination to establish a well-structured and rigorous national animal disease identification and reporting system, which fully recognises the prominent role the livestock keepers can play as primary sources of data and information on animal diseases.
In a two-day consultative workshop organised by AU-IBAR, through its SMP-AH Project, in Kampala, Uganda, on 23rd and 24th July, 2015, participants reiterated the need to put the system in place to ensure an evidence-based decision making, which allow a timely and effective animal disease prevention and control in the country. The workshop, which drew over 60 pertinent stakeholders from the livestock sector, requested AU-IBAR/SMP-AH to speed up the establishment of the system through providing relevant trainings and hardware, supporting awareness creation and experience sharing activities, as well as availing sufficient numbers of SMP manuals. In the same manner, participants have also requested the Ministry to nominate village disease reporters from farmer groups and cooperatives, recruit more veterinary officers, develop a mechanism to allowtwo-way information exchange between various actors and ensure institutionalisation of the system.
In opening the workshop, Dr Wesonga Wanderema, Commissioner for Animal Health at the Ministry, emphasised the need for a strong animal disease reporting system, which entails continuous passive and active surveillance, diagnosis of diseases, and recording of data on the disease situation, to contain existing and emerging livestock diseases which have critical importance to trade and livelihoods services. On her part, Dr Nantima Noelina, Principal Veterinary Epidemiologist at the Ministry, has underlined the importance of the SMPs and syndromic manuals developed by AU-IBAR/SMP-AH Project and urged experts to use it in their daily works of disease surveillance, diagnosis and reporting. On behalf of the Director of AU-IBAR, Prof. Ahmed Elsawalhy, Dr Joseph Magona has also expressed his firm believe that the Ministry will materialise a robust community-based disease reporting system, based on the syndromic manuals, and create a very workable reporting chain, which is fully integrated with both the national and continental ARIS databases.
Policy advisors and experts from the Ministry, livestock farmers, Community Animal Health Workers (CAHWs), livestock traders, veterinarians from public and private institutions, inspectors, and drug shop owners have attended the workshop. Also attended the workshop were representatives from National Drug Authority (NDA), National Wildlife Authority (UWA), Regional Veterinary Laboratories, Makerere University College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (COVAB), partners organisations and districts.