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Veterinary & Biosecurity

AFRISA Develops SPEDA Validation Tool for Implementation of Parish Development Model: Sets Up Community Demonstration Farms in Butebo & Budaka Districts

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By Jacinta Nakaye

African Institute for Strategic Animal Resource Services and Development (AFRISA) is currently developing a SPEDA validation tool which will be used in the assessment of the Parish Development Model’s functionality.

The implement which was launched on 16th May, 2022 in Kaberekeke village in Kachocha parish, Butebo District and Petete Parish in Budaka District, comprises of a set of activities in regards to industrial animal and crop productivity, with a major objective of generating household enterprises in communities to improve their incomes.

The community productivity acceleration processes are coordinated by the Institute’s Director, Mr. Felix Okello, together with his team of programme officers for the different animal industry value chains of; Dairy industry and business, poultry industry and business, as well as the piggery value chain.

AFRISA Programme Officer for Dairy Industry and Business, Mr. Israel Baguma in a meeting with trainees of the dairy value chain at the demonstration site in Kaberekeke village, Butebo District on 17th May, 2022.
AFRISA Programme Officer for Dairy Industry and Business, Mr. Israel Baguma in a meeting with trainees of the dairy value chain at the demonstration site in Kaberekeke village, Butebo District on 17th May, 2022.
Mr. Baguma (1st right), demonstrates to farmers the planting of grass for cattle at one of the fields. The grass will also be used in value added hay production. Photo taken on 19th May, 2022.
Mr. Baguma (1st right), demonstrates to farmers the planting of grass for cattle at one of the fields. The grass will also be used in value added hay production. Photo taken on 19th May, 2022.

With the engagement of community members from participating villages of Kaberekeke, Bulyabwinta, Buganza and Bunamwera, the industrial farm activities being implemented by the institute include; construction of demonstration farms, termed as common user facilities. These facilities will bring together farmers to acquire knowledge and skills on specific issues in regards to animal nutrition, animal health, and how to generate income from the various animal and crop value chains.

While speaking to Mr. Okello who coordinated the entire process, he affirmed that the demonstration farms will also be a platform for farmers to easily access market for their products, through the community-based leadership of productivity assistants.

The Productivity assistants were selected by the community members from participating parishes and villages during a leadership selection ceremony for the different animal and poultry value chains. The selection process was coordinated by a community mobilizer and Dairy value chain specialist, Mr. Julius Mutenga together with a poultry value chain specialist, Mr. Robert Hamba.  

Productivity Assistants for the Dairy value chain pose for a photo at the dairy facility demonstration site which is under construction in Kaberekeke on 20th May, 2022.
Productivity Assistants for the Dairy value chain pose for a photo at the dairy facility demonstration site which is under construction in Kaberekeke on 20th May, 2022.
AFRISA Piggery Industry and Business Programme Officer, Mr. Jolly Bwiire Muchere (1st left) together with piggery value chain trainees pose for a photo at one of the piggery demonstration sites in Petete village on 19th May, 2022.
AFRISA Piggery Industry and Business Programme Officer, Mr. Jolly Bwiire Muchere (1st left) together with piggery value chain trainees pose for a photo at one of the piggery demonstration sites in Petete village on 19th May, 2022.

Other activities involved in this implement include; sensitization of farmers on; the affordable standard structure of animal and poultry houses, animal and poultry drugs, nutrition, planting of grass which is scientifically termed as Chloris Gayana for livestock, animal and poultry vaccination, and utilization of animal wastes for manure production among others.

While in a meeting with community members, Mr. Okello highlighted on the ownership of the structures and the beneficiaries.

“The demonstration structures which settle on land contributed by some of the community members are communal and will entirely benefit all participating farmers in the Kaberekeke and Petete,” he stressed. Adding that, “these structures serve as demonstrations on how animal houses and enterprises should be operated. You must use these examples to set up affordable enterprises back at home.”

Participants in a practical on poultry drugs and vaccination.
Participants in a practical on poultry drugs and vaccination.
AFRISA programme officer for poultry industry and business, Ms. Joyna Ofungi demonstrates to participants how poultry vaccination is carried out.
AFRISA programme officer for poultry industry and business, Ms. Joyna Ofungi demonstrates to participants how poultry vaccination is carried out.

Following the ongoing community capacity development, participants had this to say;

Nampijja kamidha, a poultry farmer from Kaberekeke village reflected her excitement about finally gaining knowledge on poultry feeding and health.

“I have 30 chicken but before the training, I wasn’t conscious about what my chicken were eating, I was practicing free range. This training has introduced me to a number of important affordable poultry feeds in which I am willing to invest for the sake of my birds’ health.”

One of the poultry common user facilities which is still under construction at the demonstration site in Kaberekeke village, Butebo District.
One of the poultry common user facilities which is still under construction at the demonstration site in Kaberekeke village, Butebo District.

Ms. Nampijja highlighted that poultry farming is her only source of income to provide for her family and pay her children’s school fees.

“The way of living has been quite difficult given that I still have school fees to clear. This is why I need my numbers on the farm to multiply. With a poultry facility set up I will use this as a benchmark for my farm practice,” said Nampijja.

Mr. Majja Mike, a farmer with one bull reported that from this engagement, he is now able to construct an affordable kraal for his bull. He also hopes to multiply his herd, given the acquired skills in setting up a good structure to shelter farm animals.  

Mr. Sam Mirimu, a pig farmer, who lives in Petete village also disclosed his excitement about the industrial farm training.

“I was previously only practicing poultry farming with over 80 chicken, but I decided to also get skilled in domesticating pigs after learning that there’s wide market for pork,” said Mirimu. He added that, “I was so critical on setting up a nice shelter for my pigs and had to learn this from this training. Currently, I have 4 pigs; 3 females and 1 male.”

Mirimu also appreciated the support the Government of Uganda is providing at the grassroots in up scaling household incomes. 

“I was a farmer who lacked the reflection on how much wealth I can generate from my animals and chicken, however, this engagement with AFRISA has opened my eyes,” said Mirimu. AFRISA is blending the Skilling, Production, Enterprise Development and Academic (SPEDA) tool into the Parish Development Model as one of the household wealth creation service delivery strategies. The institute is employing this with the engagement of productivity assistants for the different value chains. Productivity assistants are to serve as an example and change the mindsets of households in their communities from subsistence into money economies, with practical application of the acquired industrial farm skills.  

Veterinary & Biosecurity

COVAB’s outstanding Researchers recognized during the 74th Graduation Ceremony

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PhD Graduands from CoVAB pose for the camera in the Freedom Square on Day 3 of the 74th Graduation Ceremony. 74th Graduation Ceremony, Day 3, 31st January 2024, Freedom Square, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

Five of the best researchers from the College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB) were during the 74th graduation ceremony recognized for their outstanding contribution to the body of knowledge.  They included Dr. Enoch Matovu with 48 publications, Dr. Eddy Wampande with 37, Prof. Denis Byarugaba with 36, Dr. Kato Drago with 33 and Prof. Frank Nobert Mwiine, who is also the Principal CoVAB with 30. These were some of the beneficiaries of the inaugural Makerere University Vice Chancellor’s Research Excellence Awards given to all Colleges and the University Library.

Graduands from CoVAB stand to receive their awards. 74th Graduation Ceremony, Day 3, 31st January 2024, Freedom Square, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Graduands from CoVAB stand to receive their awards.

The graduands that the college presented included 7 Ph.Ds, 58 with Masters Degrees, 212Bachelor Degrees and 5 with Post graduate Diplomas. The PhD Graduands were Agutu Claire, Atim Stella, Driciru Margaret, Kizza Daniel, Mayanja Martin Nsubuga and Othieno Emmanuel.

While making his pronouncement on day three of the 74th graduation ceremony on Wednesday 31st January 2024 when CoVAB presented her students, Prof. Nawangwe noted that with support from various partnerships, the University’s research output in terms of innovations and publications had increased. He said the recognition of outstanding performers in research and publication was based on the highest number of publications between the year 2017 and 2023 according to the Scopus database.  He urged all staff to continue conducting research on national development priorities as well as matters of global interest and publishing their work in high-impact journals so as contribute to the university’s drive to become research-led.

The Principal CoVAB, Prof. Frank Norbert Mwiine presents candidates for the award of PhDs. 74th Graduation Ceremony, Day 3, 31st January 2024, Freedom Square, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
The Principal CoVAB, Prof. Frank Norbert Mwiine presents candidates for the award of PhDs.

The College was applauded for the increased research output and community outreach initiatives, that not only helped to improve on food security but also support efforts towards combating disease. Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe pointed out that the college was spearheading the development of the anti-Tick Vaccine and that the Trials of this vaccine were on-going in several districts with promising results. He said the College entered into a memorandum of understanding with a private company to produce the vaccine commercially. He however noted that there were attempts to frustrate this project which is one of the Presidential initiatives and pledged to undertake further investigations and inform the appropriate authority accordingly.

Research, Innovation and Outreach.

In the area of research, Prof. Nawangwe said CoVAB as a College has continued to excel in research and community outreach in a number of Biomedical and Applied research projects with support from the Government of Uganda, through the Science, Technology, and Innovation secretariat, Office of the President.  The college, he said, has been supported to establish a Biomarker discovery and translation research laboratory at COVAB. Under this initiative, Government has procured over twenty-eight (28) pieces of equipment to support the development of point of care diagnostic kits for infectious and non-communicable diseases including cancer. The goal is to translate identified biomarkers into point-of-care diagnostics for both human and veterinary medicine. In addition, the platform supports drug target discovery and elucidation of drug action mechanisms.

Furthermore, the College staff were involved in investigating the genetic markers for tolerance of the tsetse fly transmitted “Nagana” disease by some indigenous cattle, in order to inform programs to raise cattle breeds that can survive and remain productive in tsetse infested areas. This is complemented by an EU funded “COMBAT” project that aims to evaluate the socioeconomic burden of Nagana, identify and type the circulating trypanosome parasites, as well as determining biochemical and immunological markers for disease tolerance, towards progressive control and elimination of this animal disease as a major constraint to animal productivity and economic prosperity.

The Leadership of CoVAB and University officials prepare to take part in the Academic Procession. 74th Graduation Ceremony, Day 3, 31st January 2024, Frank Kalimuzo Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
The Leadership of CoVAB and University officials prepare to take part in the Academic Procession.

Improved Laboratory infrastructure

The Vice chancellor said with support from the Science, Technology and Innovations-Office of the President (STI-OP), CoVAB benefited from the laboratory infrastructure and technical capacity improvement. A Central Laboratory Animal Research Facility to support pre-clinical studies in animal models for vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics was set up. This is alongside refurbished laboratories at Biosafety Levels 2 and 3 (BSL2, BSL3), fitted with state-of-the-art equipment to execute cutting edge basic and applied research.

Using COVID-19 as a model, the college was in advanced stages of development and production of 1 vaccine and 1 diagnostic, while ably supporting similar endeavors by other partners such as UVRI. Noteworthy was that the established infrastructure and research platforms can be applied to all diseases. This, he said, strategically places the college and Makerere at large in position to confront major animal and even human health challenges as significant proportions of emerging and reemerging infectious diseases are of animal origin (Zoonotic).

Electronic Rabies Surveillance using a One Health Approach

In the area of combating Rabies in the country and the region, the Vice Chancellor noted that the College with support by the Swiss Government was championing the elimination of Rabies through the use of electronic surveillance.  Rabies, he observed, is a global challenge being a zoonotic disease affecting the entire world more so here in Africa where there is close interaction between the wild animals and the human population.  Using a one health approach, the college with partners that include the University of Zurich is working with graduate fellows and other stakeholders drawn from Ministry of Health and Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, and Uganda Wild life authority among many others.

The Norbrook Veterinary Academic Excellence Award 2024

While recognizing the contribution by various partners in the realization of the Core mandate of the University, teaching and learning. Prof. Nawangwe mentioned such organizations including Norbrook (U) Ltd, who since 2021 continue to prize the best performing Veterinary students with cash prizes of Fifteen Million (15) Shillings annually. ‘We are gratified to note that these Veterinary excellence awards that were launched as part of the golden jubilee celebration of veterinary education in Uganda since the opening of the faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Uganda in 1971, are still on and running’, he said, while congratulating Norbrook (U) Ltd, the University and CoVAB management and the recipients of the award during this 74th Graduation ceremony namely; Kawuma Denis who scored a CGPA of 4.36, Kyomukama Baker Raymond who scored a CGPA of 4.25, and Atutambire Jonathan who scored a CGPA of 4.17.

Appreciation of Government Support

Nawangwe pointed out that it would not be possible for Makerere University to realize all these achievements had it not been for the unwavering support of the Visitor, the Minister, Parliament and the entire Government.  He conveyed his appreciation to the President and the entire Government for the continued support to Makerere University, especially the support to staff welfare and the Research and Innovation Fund. ‘We once again pledge our commitment to serving our country with maximum dedication through training of highly skilled human resource, research for development and support to Government programs including the Parish Development Model and measures aimed at achieving the Sustained Development Goals’, he committed.

A Word to the Graduands

The Vice Chancellor, while addressing himself to the graduands said Graduation Day was the most important and most memorable day in the life of any scholar. It is not only a license to succeed in life, but also a license and a privilege to serve humanity. ‘You have worked hard to get a degree or diploma from one of the best universities in the World. This is a license for you to succeed in whatever you choose to do in your life career. But always remember that success will only come with discipline and hard work, while honoring your parents and fearing God’.

The Awards

Later in the evening, the best researchers from the college, and the best graduands received their certificates and cash prizes respectively during a luncheon organized by Makerere University Convocation, presided over by Dr. Joseph Muvawala, Executive Director, National Planning Authority. The event, the first of its kind was held under the theme ‘Career Beyond Degrees’.

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Veterinary & Biosecurity

CoVAB Celebrates outgoing staff

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Some of the staff that were sent off pose for a picture after receiving their plaques. CoVAB farewell for outgoing staff, 19th January 2024, Ruth Keesling Gardens, College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (COVAB), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

The College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity bade farewell to some of its long serving staff that left university services to take on other responsibilities outside Makerere University.

The event held on Friday 19th January 2024 in Ruth Keesling gardens did not only include the recognition of the contribution of outgoing staff but also formerly welcomed new staff that joined the School of Biosecurity, Biotechnology and Laboratory Sciences (SBLS).

The College HR Godfrey Makubuya represented the Principal CoVAB, Prof. Frank Mwiine. CoVAB farewell for outgoing staff, 19th January 2024, Ruth Keesling Gardens, College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (COVAB), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
The College HR Godfrey Makubuya represented the Principal CoVAB, Prof. Frank Mwiine.

Prof. Frank Nobert Mwiine, the Principal of the College who was represented by the Principal Human Resource Officer Mr. Godfrey Makubuya said he was privileged for having been tutored by a number of staff that were now leaving the college. He said these did their work with uttermost dedication despite the challenges within the operating space then.  He said it was gratifying to note that they are leaving the college to better placement. He urged them to always keep CoVAB at heart even in their new duty stations and that the college doors will be always open to receive them in their respective capacities whenever need arose.

Prof. Mwiine commended the Dean, School of Biosecurity, Biotechnology and Laboratory Sciences (SBLS) Dr. Claire March Mugasa for the gesture of formerly recognizing and sending off colleague staff, most of who were part of SBLS.

Dr. Claire Marc Mugasa, the host makes her remarks.
Dr. Claire Marc Mugasa, the host makes her remarks.

On her part, Dr. Claire Mugasa Marc, the Dean of the School of School of Biosecurity, Biotechnology and Laboratory Sciences (SBLS)said the school organized the event as one way of energizing staff and ushering them into the new year. 

‘We have come together to energize ourselves for the new year’, she said adding that thepeople leaving the college would always be part of Covab. We are commissioning them to the next placement’, she said.  She urged the departing staffto always remember that CoVAB made them what they became and thereforewere duty bound to support it in any way possible.

She encouraged the staff still in service to keep supporting the colleagues in their next call of duty whenever necessary so that they can achieve their mandate, but also seek them out in order to strengthen each other’s output. 
She said although the staff were leaving, they were still partners of CoVAB and that the same principals like collaboration especially with other universities and institutions were still pertinent.

In their remarks, some of the departing staff that graced the send off ceremony expressed their gratitude to Makerere University for being a good employer, nurturing them for a long time and greatly contributing toward becoming responsible citizens.

Prof. Samuel Majalija (R) receives his plaque. CoVAB farewell for outgoing staff, 19th January 2024, Ruth Keesling Gardens, College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (COVAB), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Prof. Samuel Majalija (R) receives his plaque.

Assoc. Prof. Majalija Samuel one of the departing staff promised continued support to the College specifically the students to benefit from the ongoing research and innovations at his duty station as Head of Research at NARO.

The things we struggle to do here with students have answers in NARO, he said and that he was looking forward to a time when the students would benefit from this kind of collaboration. He extended his appreciation to his mentors and colleagues at CoVAB with whom he interacted during his tenure of office.

Dr. Stephens Kisaka (R) getting his plaque. CoVAB farewell for outgoing staff, 19th January 2024, Ruth Keesling Gardens, College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (COVAB), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Dr. Stephens Kisaka (R) getting his plaque.

Dr. Stephens Kisaka who also left CoVAB for NARO after an eighteen-year tenure said with his new assignment, there was no way he could not work without CoVAB.  ‘We came to Makerere University to work but we leave with friends and money. Makerere University paid us well and we are all well, the reason why other agencies have identified us to serve, ‘he said.  He pledged continued support to CoVAB whenever a need arose.

Mrs. Muhangi makes remarks on behalf of her husband Dr. Denis Muhangi. CoVAB farewell for outgoing staff, 19th January 2024, Ruth Keesling Gardens, College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (COVAB), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Mrs. Muhangi makes remarks on behalf of her husband Dr. Denis Muhangi.

On behalf of her husband Dr. Denis Muhangi, the wife Mrs. Muhangi said he left the University as an accomplished person and pledged to keep the University flag high at his new duty station. ‘After 19 years of service, I leave a happy man, Makerere University made me what I am and I will not shame it’, he said, while encouraging bosses to treat subordinates well because some of his bosses now are his former students.  You gave him character and he is a man of integrity as a veterinary pathologist, she observed.

Dr. Paul Ssajakambwe who is also joining NARO said they were leaving CoVAB as a happy lot and that they were going with good memories from the place that nurtured them to the present level.

A handshake with Dr. Paul Sajjakambwe (R) was in order. CoVAB farewell for outgoing staff, 19th January 2024, Ruth Keesling Gardens, College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (COVAB), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
A handshake with Dr. Paul Sajjakambwe (R) was in order.

While speaking at the same event, the Acting Head of the Biotechnical and Diagnostic Sciences Department Prof. Joseph Erume said he was happy to be part of the college that has transformed many people himself inclusive.  He commended those leaving the College for their great contribution realized for decades and urged them to continue being ambassadors of the college.

Senior staff Assoc. Prof. Jesca Nakavuma (L) and Prof. Joseph Erume (R) graced the event. CoVAB farewell for outgoing staff, 19th January 2024, Ruth Keesling Gardens, College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (COVAB), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Senior staff Assoc. Prof. Jesca Nakavuma (L) and Prof. Joseph Erume (R) graced the event.

The new staff that were formally welcomed to the SBLS included Christine Kesiime, Dr. Kalenzi David, and Dr Angwe Martin.

PICTORIAL

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Veterinary & Biosecurity

PhD & Masters Scholarship Opportunities: ADAPT Project

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PhD Graduands from CoVAB, Dr. Pellegrine Sebulime (L) and Dr. Namayanja Monica (R). Day 3, 72nd Graduation Ceremony, 25th May 2022, Freedom Square, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

Makerere University with six other African Institutions and two German Institutions has received support from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) under the program on Research Networks for in Health Innovations in Sub-Saharan Africa (RHISSA African One Health Network for Disease Prevention (ADAPT) project is aimed at building a One Health Research and Capacity Building for sustainable stewardship of Antimicrobials through Post-doctoral, PhD and Msc training as well as several capacity building workshops.

Under ADAPT project, Makerere University College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity is therefore seeking to one PhD and two Masters fellows who will contribute to several tasks within a research and Capacity building work packages. Applicants should have high motivation for postgraduate studies and will have to enroll or should be enrolled in one of the postgraduate programs tenable in the College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity. The positions are full-time and successful applicants will be expected to avail themselves fully for the duration of the fellowship. The successful fellows will receive financial support to cover tuition, research expenses and stipend.The duration of the fellowship is 24 months for the Msc and 48 months for the PhD.

ELIGIBILITY FOR THE PHD FELLOWSHIP

  1. Possess a good first degree in Veterinary Medicine or Biomedical Laboratory Technology from a recognized University.
  2. A Master’s degree in Molecular Biology, Veterinary Medicine, Microbiology or Animal Health.
  3. Evidence of having worked in a multidisciplinary team with people from the back rounds of animal, human and environmental sciences.
  4. Show evidence of training and experiences in molecular laboratory diagnosis, gene sequencing and analysis and related bioinformatics competences.
  5. Must have at least one published paper or a manuscript draft in advanced stages to demonstrate capacity to write scientific articles.
  6. The Applicant must not be above 45 years of age.

ELIGIBILITY FOR THE MASTERS FELLOWS:

  1. An honours degree or equivalent in Veterinary Medicine, Biomedical Laboratory Technology, Animal Production from a recognized university
  2. Admission to any of the programs with a strong linkage to one Health.

SELECTION CRITERIA

  • Academic ability,
  • Good communication skills,
  • Passion for graduate studies,
  • A good concept note for the PhD.
  • Relevance of the training to one’s current work or future career goals.
  • Commitment to devote time for full-time study.

APPLICATION PROCESS

Applicants should send their applications via Email to: Ugandacovab@adaptonehealth.net and copy to
rea_maja.kobialka@vetmed.uni-leipzig.de and jbokuni@gmail.com .

The Application should be within a single PDF file containing the following documents in their respective order: Handwritten application letter, Curriculum vitae, Bachelor’s degree transcript, Master’s degree transcript, certificates. For the PhD fellowship, applicants should submit a 3 page research concept for a PhD around the key words: One health, AMR,
molecular surveillance and fingerprinting of E coli and salmonella.

Each applicant needs to be supported by two referees’ letters which must be sent directly on the above Emails.

Female applicants are highly encouraged.

For further information, please contact: Dr. Okuni Julius Boniface at jbokuni@gmail.com

Deadline for application: 15th January 2024 at 23:59 EAT.

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