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Agriculture & Environment

Prolonged use of Traditional Medicines in Malaria Treatment Damages Body Tissues-Study

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By Jane Anyango

A study funded by the Government of Uganda through the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF) in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) has found that prolonged use of herbal medicines affects body organs.

Researchers recommend that traditional medicines should not be used for more than 14 days. The need for regulation and strengthening quality assurance along the value chain to reduce risks associated with the use of herbal medicines has been emphasized.

This was revealed during the virtual research dissemination workshop of the RIF 1/CAES/025 project titled, “Development of   Safe and Efficacious Anti-Malarial drug from Traditional Medicine (DESAT)” on 16th June 2021.

DESAT is an interdisciplinary and multi-institutional research project led by Prof. John Steven Tabuti – an ethnobotanist from Makerere University’s Department of Environmental Management  in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

Co investigators are Dr. Alice Nabatanzi  from the College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS), Cissy Nambejja, Senior Research Officer, Ministry of Health, Natural Chemotherapeutics Research institute, Prof.  Paul Waako, Vice Chancellor  Busitema University and Micheal R Mutyaba, Manager  Traditional and Complementary Medicine,  National Drug Authority. Other team members from CoNAS are Stanley Ofwono (Laboratory Technician), Diana Sitenda (Student) and  Olivia Maganyi (Para taxonomist).

Presenting the project results, the   Principal Investigator   Prof. John Steven Tabuti said the project undertook research in Tororo district and gathered data to determine the commonly used plant material for the treatment  of malaria  and the safety profiles of selected  species.

“We found through this study that the three species that we investigated were reasonably safe to use in a period of 14 days. Beyond 14 days, we have observed some negative impacts on the organs of the animals.  

One of the effects was on the kidney, another, was a clot in the stomach, and there was also some ulcers in the stomach, and death of some cells in the liver. This suggests that these traditional herbs are not safe. Some of the results have not yet come back, which should tell us if we should be very conscious.

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Agriculture & Environment

3 Year Doctoral Research Fellowships – ‘Drylands Transform’ Project

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A young man herds cattle in Karamoja. Photo credity: Daily Monitor.

Drylands Transform – Pathways and challenges toward a socio-ecological transformation of landscapes, livestock and livelihoods in the East African drylands, is a multidisciplinary research project (2020 – 2024) led by the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU). The geographical focus of Drylands Transform is the cross-boundary area between Kenya and Uganda, part of the Karamoja cluster. The project is funded by the Swedish research council FORMAS and involves scholars from seven different universities and organizations in Sweden and the East African region. Dryland Transform is part of the Triple L research initiative.

The project aims to investigate the links between land health, livestock-based livelihoods, human well-being, and land management and governance. We will contribute with new knowledge for transformative change and sustainable development of rangelands in the drylands of East Africa.

Through strong stakeholder engagement in interdisciplinary research, we set out to explore the challenges and pathways towards a social-ecological transformation in drylands that optimizes synergies among the sustainable development goals (SDGs) while minimizing the trade-offs. We will use innovative field research approaches focusing on livelihood improvement through rangeland restoration and governance interventions in four sites in the border region between Kenya and Uganda.

Subject area

Two subject areas will be covered by the PhD fellowships:

  1. Household resilience to climate variability: “Impacts, adaptation and resilience to climate variability and droughts”
  2. Climate variability and conflicts: “Effects of Climate Variability on the rise of social conflicts at the household and community level”

Funding

The project includes funds for 36 months and covers tuition, fieldwork as well as participation in project meetings, regional workshops and international academic conferences, and a monthly stipend.

Core eligibility criteria

The suitable candidates will have the following qualifications:

  • Master’s degree in any of the following fields: Agricultural Economics or related fields; Rangeland Management or related fields; Applied Human nutrition or related fields; public health/health sciences or related fields
  • Masters degree should not be older than 5 years
  • National of Uganda or Kenya
  • Prior experience of conducting qualitative and/or quantitative empirical research preferably in the drylands
  • At least one publication in peer-reviewed journals.

How to apply:

Interested applicants should send applications to Dr. Alice Turinawe (alice.turinawe[at]mak.ac.ug) with a copy to Dr. Stephen Mureithi (stemureithi[at]uonbi.ac.ke) by end of day, July 31, 2021.

Please see Downloads for more details

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Agriculture & Environment

Livestock Farmers Skilled on Pasture Production and Management

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CEO Robran Holdings Limited (RHL), Brian Natwijuka (in green t-shirt) teaches farmers about different pastures as part of the EU-Funded SUPPF-L training held at RHL, Buwanuka, Wakiso district.

By Jane Anyango

About 40 livestock farmers from ten cattle corridor districts in Central and Western Uganda have been retooled on pasture production and management to enhance their capacity to improve animal nutrition, farm yields and profits.

Pastures are the cheapest source of feed for livestock and are mostly made up of grasses and legumes with high levels of required nutrients that are needed by animals for quick maturity, increased production, good health and quality products.

The farmers attended lessons at Makerere University Agricultural Research Institute Kabanyolo (MUARIK) and conducted practical sessions at Robran Holdings Limited (RHL), in Buwanuka Wakiso district. The trained farmers are expected to go out and train fellow farmers in their respective districts on how produce and manage pasture for supplementary feeding.

The training was organized under the Promote Supplementary Feeding (SUPPL-F) project. The SUPPL-F project is part of the Developing a Market –Oriented and Environmentally Sustainable Beef Meat Industry in Uganda (MOBIP) which is a Government of Uganda program supported by the European Union (EU) under the overall  supervision of the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF).

The project is implemented by the Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) and partners at a total budget of EUR 715,299 for a period of 28 months from the 12th August 2019 to December 2021. The partners include Robran Holdings Limited (RHL), Makerere University College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), The Green Elephant (TGE), the Livestock Development Forum (LDF) and the Orchid House Farm Nakasongola.

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Agriculture & Environment

Cattle Corridor Farmers Trained on Silage and Hay Preparation

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L-R: Mr. Brian Natwijuka, one of the trainees and Mr. Daniel Ojiambo compacting grass for silage making during the training under the EU-funded SUPPL-F project at Robran Holdings Limited (RHL), in Buwanuka Wakiso District.

By Jane Anyango

Selected beef cattle farmers from 10 districts in the Central and Western cattle corridors of Uganda have been trained on how to prepare silage and hay as supplementary feed to boost beef production in the country.

Silage and hay are preserved or stored feed given to the cattle during a shortage of green forage. They are very nutritious and easy to digest feed for the cattle that ensure high milk production, high quality meat for a short time and healthy stay of animals especially during dry seasons.

The theoretical training was conducted at Makerere University Agricultural Research Institute Kabanyolo (MUARIK) whereas the practical sessions were carried out at Robran Holdings Limited (RHL), in Buwanuka Wakiso district.

The trained farmers are expected to go out and train fellow farmers in their respective districts on how to prepare and utilize silage and hay as supplementary feeds.

The training was organized under the Promote Supplementary Feeding (SUPPL-F) project. The project is part of the Developing a Market –Oriented and Environmentally Sustainable Beef Meat Industry in Uganda (MOBIP) which is a Government of Uganda programme supported by the European Union under the overall  supervision of the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF).

The project is implemented by the Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) and partners at a total budget of EUR 715,299 for a period of 28 months from the 12th August 2019 to December 2021. The collaborating partners include Robran Holdings Limited (RHL), Makerere University College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), The Green Elephant (TGE), the Livestock Development Forum (LDF) and the Orchid House Farm Nakasongola.

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