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Vets demand reinstatement of Animals Ministry, call for food quality assessment labs

LOOKING FORWARD: Dr Kasibule (RIGHT)and his Gen Secretary Dr Obbo at the Inauguration of the new UVA Executive on Friday in Kampala

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The newly elected President of the Uganda Veterinary Association (UVA) Dr Daniel Kasibule and his predecessor Dr Syliva Baluka have called on government to recognize the role their members can play in improving the general health of the country.

They called for greater Government concern on the misuse of antibiotics and relatedly, the prevalence of cancer in the country. The veterinarians said the rampant animal diseases ravaging the country that have led to multiple quarantine measures, are an economic and health risk, that should be addressed fully, not piece meal.

A quality assessment laboratory, they said, should also be a priority for government. This they argue, will help assist the Uganda National Bureau of Standards deal with checking the quality of food and animal products on the market.

The new executive swearing in.

The two doctors said as a starting point, the reinstatement of a ministry in charge of Animal Industries and Fisheries, as was before the years of the NRM government, be considered urgently.  This, they argued, will help the country budget to meet the challenges and fund improved salary and staffing levels of veterinarians, especially in Local Government across the country.

The animal sector was downgraded from having a Ministry of Animal Industries, to currently being one of the departments in the  Ministery of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries. This greatly reduced on the staff levels needed for monitoring and supervision of activities in their sector.

“I appeal to the government to consider recentralizing the veterinary services to ensure rapid response to diseases ( epidemics) in addition to reinstatement of the ministry of veterinary services and animal industry,” Dr Kasibule said Friday soon after receiving the instruments of his new office.

Kasibule said his executive will work with stakeholders to help improve welfare, especially the salaries and other emoluments extended to veterinarians who currently work in difficult conditions, and with many job related hazards.

“We are a relatively small profession. Our critical and far-reaching roles in animal health, welfare and public health mean that we are uniquely placed to offer the Government evidence-based and informed advice, and policy recommendations,” said the new UVA president.

He added that UVA is also willing to help government sensitize the public towards improved consumption of animal products like milk and eggs. Kasibule said such a consumption effort is needed to fight malnutrition, which statistics show is rampant in the country, especially among children.

Outgoing UVA President Dr Baluka (left) handed over after serving two terms, from 2017. Dr Kasibule was her deputy. ( ALL PHOTOS by LOUIS JADWONG)

UVA on Friday held the inauguration of a new executive that was elected a week before. Dr Kasibule, who has been Vice-President and is District veterinary officer Mpigi District, takes over from Dr Baluka, who served two terms from 2017.

New General secretary is Dr Bonifance Obbo. Dr Obbo is a principal Veterinary officer Manafwa District local Government

At the handover ceremony, Dr Baluka shared the challenges their sector is facing, urging the new executive to prioritize several issues including disease control, improved welfare and facilitation, especially transport, for vet doctors to reach farmers.

“Animals harbor a lot of disease causing agents, and the lesson from the spread of COVID-19 from animals to man is that we need to do more monitoring for the safety of Ugandans,” Baluka said.

She also decried the poor quality of food and animal products on the market, as farmers are pumping animals with all kinds of medicines that end up on people’s plates.

On the downgrade from a full Animal industry in the 80s to an integrated one with the Ministry of agriculture, Baluka said it has had its consequences as shown in the state of health of the animals sector. UVA are lobbying for a change, but also acquired land at Namanve to build a facility to up capacity of veterinarians.

She said they however face a threat from the Investment Authority, that want to take over the land because of delayed use of it.

The UVA executive immediately urged members to plan, budget for 2021 and lobby for resource allocations in order to mark World veterinary that will take place on April 24 in Nakasongola District, and the World rabies ( day 28/09 every year).

Dr Florence Kasirye, the registrar of Uganda Veterinary Board, briefs colleagues at the inauguration

General secretary Obbo promised to spread veterinary activities in all corners of Uganda. ” We will reach all corners, from Yumbe whose DVO is Dr Mukasa Matinda Neckyon to Busia District’s  Dr Patrick Barasa. From Kotido that has Dr Longoli to Dr Ngabo Herbert in Kisoro District.”

NEW UVA EXECUTIVE

Position  Elected
President Dr Daniel Kasibule
Vice President Dr Generous Behabura
General Secretary Dr Obbo Bonifance
Deputy General Secretary Dr Geoffrey Mukama
Treasurer Dr Dr Ben Ssenkeera
DeputyTreasurer Dr Asiimwe Carol
Committee members Dr. Abed Bwanika⁩
Dr Maureen Mayanja
Dr Bameka Ronald
CVA councilor Dr William Ssendaula Blater

 

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