Arua, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Government has been urged to fast track the implementation of a presidential directive for the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF ) to take full charge of veterinary drugs regulation and control.
Speaking at celebrations to mark World Rabies Day in Arua on Monday, President of the Uganda Veterinary Association (UVA) Dr Daniel Kasibule said updating and fast tracking key polices like the Animal Disease Act, Veterinary Health Act, Feed and the Animal Drug Act will also help improve performance in the sector.
Kasibule said government should review the policy on delivery of veterinary services to define public, private and both public and private diseases.
“All vaccines against priority animal and zoonotic diseases are imported, there are no regional vaccine banks, quality assurance and standardization facilities. Inadequate district level vaccine storage facilities and field based cold chain equipment and dilapidated veterinary offices across districts, is evidence of the need for more support clear policies,” Kasibule said.
He added that, “we look towards a vibrant animal industry, we reiterate our commitment to align our actions for a future free of rabies and other priority animal and zoonotic diseases. We pray that our concerns amongst others be considered as urgent for the revitalization of the livestock industry.”
He concluded by calling for the enhancement of the salaries of animal health professionals to be commensurate with that of the other professionals in the same bracket.
MAAIF hails stakeholders
MAAIF Commissioner animal health, Dr. Anna Rose Ademun’s message for the day acknowledged the important role all stakeholders play.
“Today, Uganda joins the rest of the world to commemorate the World Rabies Day (WRD), a special event intended to heighten action and awareness for rabies prevention and control. Rabies is known to be a deadly disease for animals and humans yet 100% preventable through vaccination,” she said.
She added that, “I call upon all veterinarians, veterinary paraprofessionals, Public health professionals, environment, Uganda wildlife Authority, media, educati on sector, non-government organizations, research organizations, academia, civil society organizations, development partners, medical and veterinary pharmaceutical companies and the general public to play our roles as a team in order to achieve elimination of human death from dog mediated rabies in Uganda.”
Rabies is a public good disease and the government of Uganda procures sufficient doses of rabies vaccines annually and distributes to the District Local Governments which mobilize and sensitize animal owners as well as vaccinating all animals at risk especially, dogs and cats to “stop” the disease at source.
“It is important to note that effective and consistent annual vaccination of dogs and cats with 70% coverage of the total population can eliminate the occurrence of rabies in humans. Furthermore, it is over ten times,” Commissioner animal health, Dr. Anna Rose Ademun said.
World Rabies Day is a global observance celebrated annually on the 28th of September to raise awareness about rabies and its prevention and to highlight progress in defeating this horrible disease.
The commemoration has been spearheaded by the Global Alliance for Rabies Control since 2007. This year, World Rabies Day was celebrated under the theme “Rabies: Facts, Not Fear.”
As part of the celebrations, a number of activities were undertaken from September 23-28th 2021 in Arua.
These included vaccination, spaying and castration of (stray) dogs and cats; creation of awareness through brochures, banners, hailing people using loud speakers; and radio as well as television programs. The purpose of all these was to raise awareness about the prevention and control of rabies countrywide.
All activities in Arua emphasized the need to heighten awareness about rabies; and dismiss the fear and myths associated with the disease within the community. The intention is to give assurance that in the fight against rabies, vaccination is still a very important weapon, and the disease is 100% preventable if it (vaccination) can be wholly embraced by all the stakeholders.
The chosen theme therefore, seeks to bring focus on the use of vaccination as the foundation of all rabies control strategies. The Government has and will continue investing resources in it so as to eradicate this zoonotic disease by 2030, a goal that has been agreed upon globally.
What you need to know about rabies?
Rabies is a fatal viral disease that affects both humans and animals.
➡ Airborne transmission is also possible under special circumstances such as in laboratories and caves with an extremely high bat density.
✳ The signs in humans include;
•Fear of water, wind and exposure to sunlight,
•Difficulty in swallowing and breathing,
•Seeing and hearing strange things that are non-existent
✳ The signs of an animal with rabies include;
•Chewing strange things (rocks, dirt or wood),
•Excessive salivation, fear of exposure to light,
•Difficulty in swallowing and breathing