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MINISTER BRIGHT RWAMIRAMA OUTLINES GOVT’S MEASURES TO COMBAT LIVESTOCK DISEASES

By Khasacha Mwene 

Minister of State for Animal Industry Dr. Bright K. Rwamirama has outlined measures the Government has put in place to combat livestock diseases in order to improve quality of Uganda’s livestock products to meet regional and international market standards.

Speaking during his address at the Media Centre on April 30, 2021, Dr. Rwamirama said Uganda’s animal products are highly appreciated at the regional and international markets with regards to palatability, but these markets require high quality and safe animal products, calling for increased production and productivity to meet the market demands.

“For Uganda to continue enjoying accessibility to regional and international markets for animals and animal products, there is a need to meet the prescribed sanitary measures. One of them is the freedom from diseases. The frequent occurrence of trade sensitive and zoonotic diseases such as Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), CBPP, PPR (Sheep and Goat Plague), brucellosis, anthrax, rift valley fever among others, down plays the contribution of the livestock subsector to the national GDP,” said Dr. Rwamirama.

He added: “As part of the global effort, Government also put in place deliberate programmes for control and “ERADICATION” of the most important trade sensitive diseases with special focus on FMD and PPR (Goat and Sheep Plague). This will be achieved through the implementation of several strategies and plans developed by the Ministry and requires adequate and sustained funding. This calls for concerted efforts by all stakeholders in the animal industry.”

The Minister said the livestock population for which disease management must be undertaken is estimated at 14.8 million heads of cattle, 16 million goats, 5.4 million sheep, 5 million pigs, over 60 million poultry (Chiken, turkey).  He added that livestock contributes 5.0 % to the GDP of Uganda through sales of livestock, livestock products (meat, milk, ghee, eggs, horns, hooves, hides and skins).Below Mulengera News reproduces the rest Dr. Rwamirama’s speech outlining the animal disease control strategies.

ANIMAL DISEASE CONTROL STRATEGIES:

The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries is responsible for preventing and controlling all animal diseases of epidemic and notifiable nature such as Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD).

  1. FMD Prevention is by repeated vaccinations of herds before the outbreak to create the desired immunity to prevent FMD outbreaks. The Ministry procured 2.3 million FMD doses to carry out strategic vaccination of animals in affected and high-risk areas. The supply and delivery of this vaccine consignment was phased and so far 900,000 doses delivered and the remaining 1.411 million doses will be delivered in June 2021
  1. Uganda adopted strategic (Ring) vaccination to control FMD. The Ring vaccination strategy entails vaccinating herds surrounding the focal herd(s) (where the infection has occurred). Currently FMD vaccination has been undertaken in 47 districts countrywide.
  • Institution of quarantines and controlling of animal movements and their products to control the spread of the disease. Local Governments are responsible for enforcement of quarantine restrictions imposed by the Ministry as per the Animal Diseases Act, Cap 38. In addition, the Ministry established an Agriculture Police unit to support enforcement and regulatory activities such as animal movement control. Enforcement and regulatory functions of the Ministry are being strengthened.
  1. Creation of mass awareness among livestock farmers, duty bearers and other key stakeholders about the socio-economic impact of the disease and its control measures.

WHAT THE PUBLIC SHOULD KNOW ABOUT SPREAD OF DISEASES:

Animal diseases spread due to; 

  1. Illegal animal movements within the Country and across international borders for pasture, water and for trade purposes. In other instances, diseases spread as a result of cattle rustling. Illegal and irregular animal movements is the biggest contributor to the spread of animal disease. It is therefore important that animal movement control is regarded as important by all stakeholders in the animal industry if diseases have to be controlled.
  1. Unprofessional practices like issuance of animal movement permits for animals from affected areas. Sometimes, the abattoir management has wrongfully allowed animals intended for slaughter to leave abattoir premises (to be sold out to people) for breeding purposes). This encourages disease spread.
  2. Traders sometime move animals without proper documentations such as animal movement permits issued by the DVOs.
  1. Animal movements for traditional marriages, functions, funerals, family exchanges especially of breeding bulls.
  1. Slaughter of animals from other localities, pack in sacks (BUDEYA) and carry on bicycles or motorcycles to far areas while spreading diseases through dripping blood and other tissues incase the slaughtered animal was affected.

Actions taken by the Ministry:

  1. Increased vaccination coverage to curb down on the frequent outbreaks of FMD that has affected up to 47 districts;
  1. The ministry is working together with Uganda Veterinary Board to weed out people who are masquerading as veterinary doctors and veterinary paraprofessionals. The masqueraders/quacks have been duping unsuspecting farmers by selling to them vaccines at high costs alleged to be coming from Government. Most times, these vaccines are counterfeits, poorly stored and sometimes administered at low dosages. Consequently, the purported “vaccinated” animals come down with the disease making farmers lose money and their animals. Government vaccines and vaccination services are free and administered by qualified and trained Government Animal Health Professionals.
  1. The Ministry strengthened animal movement control to curb Illegal movement of animals by some stakeholders.

GUIDANCE TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC ABOUT ANIMAL DISEASE MANAGEMENT:

  1. All livestock being moved for breeding or slaughter shall be accompanied by livestock Movement Permits which state the animal origin and destination, the route, mode of transport.
  2. Livestock must NEVER be moved from areas that are under quarantine restrictions to prevent animal disease spread.
  3. Vehicles transporting livestock shall be inspected ONLY at Designated ANIMAL CHECK POINTS bearing a Q sign post manned by an authorized veterinary officer.
  1. No other persons other than the authorized veterinary officer and Agriculture Police are allowed to be involved in animal movement control.
  2. The livestock shall be accompanied with:
  3. Letter of ownership and identification issued by the relevant LC1,Animal movement permit (Original) by the DVO or authorized delegated officer.
  • Livestock for breeding purposes, in addition to the above documentations, shall be accompanied by a letter of NO OBJECTION issued by the DVO from the area of Within all districts, the DVOs must ensure that all the animal health service providers both Public and Private are registered and licensed Uganda Veterinary Board.

  1. Farmers are advised to deal with only registered and known veterinary service providers.
  2. Farmers are advised to be patient and wait for the genuine free government vaccines to avoid being duped by wrong elements.
  3. Farmers and all stakeholders must report any suspicious persons or suspiciously acting persons to the veterinary authorities or police.
  4. All empty bottles or containers for vaccines, drugs, acaricides and other logistical materials (used Personal Protective Equipment) must be returned to the Office of DVO where they will be collected for accountability and proper disposal at designated facilities.

Livestock farmers, livestock traders and the general public are hereby advised to take note of these control measures that have been put in place by the Government through the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries to contain the Foot and Mouth Disease and other diseases in in Uganda. I would like to thank all our partners that are working with us in the containment of animal diseases in the Country. (For comments on this story, call, text or whatsapp us on 0705579994, 0779411734, 0200900416 or email us at mulengera2040@gmail.com).

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