The new leadership of the Uganda Veterinary Association (UVA) wants the government to recognize their unique role in influencing the health of Ugandans.
Dr. Daniel Kasibule, the newly elected President of UVA says the government needs to create a separate Ministry responsible for animal health because of the unique relationship between the health of animals and human health.
Speaking at the inauguration of the new executive at the Association headquarters at Buganda Road, Kasibule called on the government to make animal health a top priority by establishing a modern laboratory that will control the misuse of animal drugs which he said have been linked to the increase in cancer, as well as increasing resistance to antibiotics, through excessive use of the drugs.
“The food assessment laboratory will help tell the story of pesticides and chemical filled food and animal products consumed by Ugandans daily which is one of the greatest health risks Ugandans face,” he said.
The veterinarian further 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, he said, should also be a top priority for government, to help assist the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS), ensure the importation and manufacture of quality drugs.
Dr Sylvia Baluka, the outgoing UVA president added her voice to Kasunule’s when she agued that an independent ministry will help the country’s budget to meet the challenges and fund improved salary and staffing levels of Veterinarians especially in Local Governments across the country.
Kasibule said: “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,”
The animal sector was downgraded from having a Ministry of Animal Industries, to currently one of the departments in the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries which according to the veterinarians reduced on the staff levels needed for monitoring and supervision of their activities.
Kasibule said his executive will work with stakeholders to help improve the welfare especially the salaries and other emoluments extended to veterinarians especially as they work in difficult conditions with many job related hazards.
UVA this week held the inauguration of the new executive that was elected last week,
Dr Kasibule who has been Vice- President and is the District veterinary officer Mpigi District, took over from Dr Baluka who served two terms from 2017.
The Association New General Secretary is Dr Boniface Obbo who is also principal Veterinary officer Manafwa District local Government.
Speaking at the ceremony, Dr Baluka shared the challenges the 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 citing that with this, 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 a lot of consequences as shown in the state of health of the animals sector.
In the essence of lobbying for change, the veterinarian noted the achievement of UVA acquiring land at Namanve to build a facility to up capacity of veterinarians.
She however, said they face a threat from the Investment Authority, which wants to take over the land because of delayed use of it.
Meanwhile, the UVA executive urged members to plan, budget and lobby for resource allocations in order to mark World veterinary day slated for April 24 in Nakasongola District, and the World rabies that annually takes place every September 28.
“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.
General Secretary Obbo promised to spearhead the spread of veterinary activities in all corners of the country.
“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,” he said.
BELOW is the
NEW UVA EXECUTIVE
President: Dr Daniel Kasibule
Vice President: Dr Generous Behabura
General Secretary: Dr Obbo Bonifance
Deputy General Secretary: Dr Geoffrey Mukama
Treasurer: Dr Ben Ssenkeera
Deputy Treasurer: Dr Asiimwe Carol
Dr. Abed Bwanika (MP – Elect)
Dr Maureen Mayanja
Dr Bameka Ronald
CVA councilor: Dr William Ssendaula Blater