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Veterinary & Biosecurity

CoVAB’s 2022 Summer School & International Boma come to a close

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The College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Bio security successfully completed the 2022 Summer school and the International Cultural Boma that was held on the Theme; Tropical Veterinary Medicine and One Health in Uganda: A need for partnership and collaboration for development.

Students from the Mississippi State University, College of Veterinary Medicine, USA took part in a one-month summer school organized by the college.

Deputy Principal CoVAB Prof. James Okwee Acai makes his remarks at the Boma.
Deputy Principal CoVAB Prof. James Okwee Acai makes his remarks at the Boma.

Following the completion of the activity, a Boma which is a knowledge sharing and exchange session was convened at the College in partnership with AFROHUN Uganda on Friday 1st July 2022.  It brought together students under the One health program as well as students from Mississippi State University USA.

Prof. James Okwee Acai, the Deputy Principal on behalf of the Principal Prof. Norbert Frank Mwiine welcomed the participants to the knowledge sharing opportunity where CoVAB and Makerere University as a whole was sitting together with Mississippi State University and AFROHUN to share experiences and what was learnt in Tropical Veterinary Medicine as well as getting to know what happens outside the said sphere.

Prof. Stephen Reichley makes remarks during the Boma at CoVAB.
Prof. Stephen Reichley makes remarks during the Boma at CoVAB.

‘It is in the interest of sharing information to identify and address challenges that affect life’, said Prof. Okwee while extending his appreciation to Mississippi State University for the over ten-year relations it has had with the College despite the challenges.  He said what started as a summer school may no only last but grow into problem solving partnerships in research, training and community development.

The Team Leader from Mississippi University Prof. Stephen Reichley appreciated CoVAB for the lead role in organizing the one-month long Summer School that brought his students into contact with a new area with most of them being in Africa for the first time.  He said the summer school was opening up opportunities for further collaboration in areas like student exchange programs as well as graduate research.  It was a great experience for the students to move out of their area to the unknown and that the exposure left lifelong imprint on the students’ academic, practice and outlook towards life he noted.

Summer school participants listen to other peoples' experiences.
Summer school participants listen to other peoples’ experiences.

Dr. Gabriel Tumwine the Summer School coordinator said the one-month expedition by the students from Mississippi State University was a great field experiential learning opportunity using one health approach. He said the deliberations in the Boma were an opportunity for the organizers to get feedback which would inform the subsequent summer school and Boma.  Tumwine commended Dr. Sente for keeping with the team while in the field all through. He took cognizance of the students from AFROHUN who were taking part in the Boma to share their experiences and lessons learnt from their placements in various parts of the country and the projects they handled within the communities.

In a presentation by Dr. Peninnah Nsamba, a Veterinarian and Virologist, it was explained that effort has been on to bring the one health concept to the fore front by showing students that it was not only their individual professions that mattered rather a synergy was necessary for the needed balance and multi-sectoral approach in addressing community challenges.   She highlighted some of the successes realized to date and these included bringing together students from various disciplines and colleges in Makerere and other Universities who through a didactic course commit to solve community challenges in a holistic approach.

Dr. Peninnah Nsamba makes her presentations on the One Health succeess story.
Dr. Peninnah Nsamba makes her presentations on the One Health succeess story.

The Mississippi State University students that included Katie Ann Stanley, Brook Taylor Dominello and Jordan Leigh McCoy presented a report about their field experiences that took them into contact with various disciplines including Aquaculture and fisheries, conservation, the abattoirs, dairy production, the national parks, small animal clinics as well as agriculture.

They appreciated attendant factors like religion that formed part of the reason for family cohesion as one thing that struck them. They appreciated the creativity among Ugandans in the way they handled different Veterinary issues but called for improvement in the abattoirs and slaughter houses as well as general animal welfare.

Mississippi State University Students on Summer School out in the filed attending to goat kids.
Mississippi State University Students on Summer School out in the filed attending to goat kids.

Similarly, students in the 2021 AFROHUN cohort presented reports where they shared their field experiential learning. Using the one health concept that was developed to appreciate the interconnectedness of every sector,environment, human and animal, the students explained that the experiences helped them appreciate a lot of things and supported the host communities solve some of the identified and prioritized challenges.  The areas visited included slaughter houses and the problems identified included lack of protective gear, people involved in self-medication and the associated risk in microbial resistance. The other community challenge handled was sharing water sources by animals and humans in Pallisa and how the situation was addressed together with the community leadership.

Dr. Claire Mugasa (Right) hands over certificates to participants at the close of the Boma.
Dr. Claire Mugasa (Right) hands over certificates to participants at the close of the Boma.

Dr. Claire Mugasa, the Dean School of Biosecurity, Biotechnology and Laboratory Sciences (SBLS) formally closed the Boma and congratulated all the teams for having completed the program as scheduled.  She said their participation was an opportunity for shared learning   and she extended the College’s appreciation to AFROHUN for the opportunity given to students of various disciplines to work on real life challenges using the one health approach.  She was happy to learn that the principles learned were put into practice and was optimistic that the future was bright with more and more people working towards the realization of the one health approach.

A Mississippi State University Student out in the field of wildlife conservation, just next to a rhino.
A Mississippi State University Student out in the field of wildlife conservation, just next to a rhino.

The International Cultural Boma as a concept in an African context means a meeting that allows learning and a two-way exchange of information between elders and youngsters. African culture involves the transfer of wisdom and knowledge from the wise, knowledgeable, and highly experienced elders to the young that are mentored into responsible community members. The concept was therefore used to allow opportunity to share knowledge from all stakeholders as experienced in the course of learning.

Veterinary & Biosecurity

“We are now citizens of the planet, The planetary phase of civilization”

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Hon. Monica Musenero Musanza, The Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation (Front 3rd Right) with stakeholders at the opening the symposium held from 2nd to 4th August 2022 at CoVAB, Makerere University.

One world – One farm – One health

Makerere University recently signed a Declaration of intent to join Global Farm platform network and partnership, one of whose objectives is to establish a global academic network to promote farm research platforms for optimization of ruminant livestock production and hence contribute to food security, sustainability and poverty alleviation.

The Global Farm Platform offers an opportunity for conducting large transnational research, collection and exchange of big data and scientific exchanges and application of cutting edge technologies.

The Deputy Principal CoVAB, Prof.  James Okwee Acai (Centre) exchanges the signed declaration of intent with Prof. Mark Eisler from Bristol University (2nd Right).
The Deputy Principal CoVAB, Prof. James Okwee Acai (Centre) exchanges the signed declaration of intent with Prof. Mark Eisler from Bristol University (2nd Right).

The signing of the declaration of intent followed a three-day partnership symposium on Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) conducted at the College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal resources and Bio Security (CoVAB) from 2nd to 4th August 2022.

With support from Worldwide Universities Network (WUN), the symposium brought together stakeholders from the University of Bristol UK, Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural resources Malawi, University of Ghana, Busitema University, National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO), Africa Institute for Strategic Animal Resource Services and Development (AFRISA) and the host Makerere University.

Stakeholders at the symposium listen to Prof. John David Kabasa.
Stakeholders at the symposium listen to Prof. John David Kabasa.

The symposium that was hosted by the Centre for Biosecurity and Global Health at CoVAB focused on the Theme; Recovery of Human Health and Wellbeing through sustainable Livestock Production in Sub Saharan Africa: The Food Not Feed approach.

It was premised on the realization that the food-feed competition of human food was one of the complex challenges that had greatly contributed to climate change, land degradation and water shortages in an effort to have sustainable food production.  The One world – One farm approach that has been found crucial in redressing the food and not feed approach and the climate change challenges set out to look for multifaceted solutions through collaboration and partnerships. The symposium therefore was convened to reflect on and provide input into sustainable livestock development and production in sub-Saharan Africa in the wake of the globalization of the economy, climate change and pressure for safe food.  It was also among other things aimed at developing research groups to promote science, technology and innovations in accelerated livestock production and productivity and for universities to build strong Global farm platform networks.

Prof. John David Kabasa (L) chats with stakeholders at the symposium.
Prof. John David Kabasa (L) chats with stakeholders at the symposium.

The Deputy Principal College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity Prof.  James Okwee Acai welcomed the participants and expressed gratitude towards the Minister for Science, Technology and Innovations for her continued support to the College which he said, was a manifestation of the trust in the output of the college. He noted that her presence at the symposium was an indication of the commitment that the Ministry had in building the much needed partnerships.

While addressing himself to the theme, Prof. Acai said the symposium brought together a great team of partners as evidenced from the Universities represented as well as the Makerere University team led by Prof. John David Kabasa. He expressed optimism that the outputs would contribute greatly towards the realization of the much needed synergies in livestock research output drawing lessons from the partnerships involving the North and South.

Prof. John David Kabasa makes remarks on behalf of the consortium.
Prof. John David Kabasa makes remarks on behalf of the consortium.

Makerere University’s Prof. John David Kabasa who made remarks on behalf of the consortium noted that the universe was in the planetary phase of civilization which he described as a state of increased global interdependence.  He said it was necessary that they discussed ways of ensuring sustainable production in the wake of climate change and other challenges facing the world.  While giving reference to the concept of One world – One farm – One health, Prof. Kabasa said that until recently with the onset of COVID- 19 and the Ukraine War and their effect on our livelihood, we did not know that we were  linked to one another.

Prof. Kabasa illustrated the composition of a healthy plate that should include carbohydrates, proteins and vegetables.  He said this was required by the Eight Billion people living on the planet. ‘Where will a healthy plate come from with the increasing population vis the existing land and water resources’ queried the Professor, while encouraging land use change. ‘The model of burying should change since it is not sustainable, food must increase, urbanization and peasantry displacement is inevitable,’ he explained while emphasizing the need for better, scientifically proven methods of increased productivity in order to satisfy the food demand. 

Prof. John David Kabasa makes his remarks.
Prof. John David Kabasa makes his remarks.

Prof. Kabasa noted that although the existing challenges were created by Science Technology and Innovation, it was the same way that they could be redressed.  He urged the College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Bio security to take lead in the intensification of production of animal sources of food to help meet the projected demand.He cautioned that unless there was a change, the kind of science we were doing would lead to our own displacement and cited the example of the daily meat demand that stood at 40 million kilograms.  ‘As we intensify, you must produce on land, below the land and above the land’ he said.

Prof. Kabasa pointed out the challenge of the greenhouse emissions and urged scientists to come up with the right models of production. ‘Scientists must come out loudly to address the challenges we have created ourselves. We need new brains to redress the issue of poison which is destroying the biodiversity’. He noted.

Hon. Monica Musenero Musanza addresses the symposium.
Hon. Monica Musenero Musanza addresses the symposium.

He said that being part of the global farm required addressing the modes of production that had led to the rejection of products from Africa leading to market loss, which meant no jobs, leading to labor export, while importing products.  ‘When will you scientists become angry. Even your own children will be exported’, he said. Kabasa also stressed the need to re-orient the science Technology Innovations pathways to industrial value chains and away from a commodity based thinking. At CoVAB, through the various schools there were pillars of industrial value chains including medicine resources, wild life resources, biomolecules, bio lab resources as well as household resources, he said.

Hon. Monica Musenero Musanza, The Minister for Science, Technology and Innovations while opening the symposium noted that for long Africa had relegated the responsibility of thinking and depended on the thoughts from others. All this has not helped Africa, she observed, and the current thought process was to provide the next leaders, citing the think tank that exists at her ministry.

Prof. Mark Eisler from Bristol University makes his remarks.
Prof. Mark Eisler from Bristol University makes his remarks.

While giving the example of the Mbale flood tragedy that had left scores dead, Hon. Musenero noted that such a scenario was a result of action without thinking that led to environmental degradation. She said the symposium would help organize thoughts and that the more the thinking, the better the results. She said the onset of Covid -19 in Africa provided a landmark that pushed us to sit in a thinking chain. ‘The future does not happen but is created. As we sit here and think global sustainability, it means integrity and balance, which are key for sustainability’ she observed.  She encouraged the scientists to think of new innovations and continue investing in the thinking process given that 50% of the work in the Science Innovation and Technology sector was thinking.  It is unacceptable that a Professor with all the research and teaching has no patent or commercialized product, she stressed.

Stakeholders visit Kitale Farm.
Stakeholders visit Kitale Farm.

The participants at the symposium took off time to visit some farmers that included Edward Kalemba who is an urban Dairy farmer in Kasangati with eight animals operating in his compound. He uses animal waste to make bio gas while the slurry from the biogas used on his farm.

At the symposium, presentations were made by the respective entities. In the end there were a number of recommendations made that included the establishment of a multi-disciplinary research group to uphold the Global Farm Platform, to collaboratively harness the science Technology and Innovations capacities of African institutions to resolve the challenges of climate change and sustainable livestock development and production as well as developing appropriate and alternative livestock feed and production technologies.

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Veterinary & Biosecurity

Mak-COVAB Opens a Dairy Demonstration Farm

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The Principal CoVAB, Prof. Nobert Frank Mwiine (4th R) with college staff at Nakyesasa during the visit on 25th July 2022.

Makerere University and the College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources, and Bio Security (CoVAB) in particular are set to open a Diary Demonstration Farm project, the Korea-Uganda Dairy Project (KUDaP) on Wednesday 24th of August 2022 at Nakyesasa, one of the incubation centers managed by the college.

The Dairy demonstration farm is being established under a collaboration with Jeonmbuk National University and support by Korea Rural Cooperation.

 The Milking Parlour at the Dairy Demonstration farm at Nakyesasa
The Milking Parlour at the Dairy Demonstration farm at Nakyesasa

The event is expected to be graced by the Vice Chancellor of Makerere University, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Thomas Tayebwa, The Dignitaries from the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries and other stakeholders in the industry.

According to the College Principal Prof. Nobert Frank Mwiine, the project to be handed over will serve as a center research and training hub in dairy development.  He said the intended beneficiaries include Veterinary and Animal Production/ Management students that will use it as a training and research center but also farmers interested in dairy production.

Inspection of the Banana plantation at Nakyesasa by the Principal Prof. Nobert Frank Mwiine  (R), the Farm Manager (L) and other officials
Inspection of the Banana plantation at Nakyesasa by the Principal Prof. Nobert Frank Mwiine (R), the Farm Manager (L) and other officials

The Principal who led a delegation of staff from the College to make an on-spot inspection of the project and other enterprises at Nakyesasa incubation Centre also chaired the Academic Board and Finance Committee meetings at this site.

He commended the project team for the work done to date that led to the completion of the first phase of the project to be formerly received as one of the achievements marking the 50 years of higher Veterinary education in Uganda and 100 years of Makerere University.

The Principal Investigator (PI) of the Project, Prof. Robert Tweyongyere (R) with the Principal Prof. Norbert Frank Mwiine (L) and other officials during the inspection visit.
The Principal Investigator (PI) of the Project, Prof. Robert Tweyongyere (R) with the Principal Prof. Norbert Frank Mwiine (L) and other officials during the inspection visit.

Prof. Robert Tweyongyere, the Dean School of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Resources and Principal investigator (PI) of the project said the handover will mark the end of the first and construction phase of the project which will be followed by a subsequent phase of stocking with cows and later on value addition.

Prof. Tweyongyere said the project is intended to support the College play a role in improving productivity of dairy farmers and to serve as a dairy demonstration farm for Makerere University.  He said on Friday 25th of August 2022, the project management consultant is expected to hand over the project to Makerere University.

The cattle shed at the Dairy Demonstration farm at Nakyesasa
The cattle shed at the Dairy Demonstration farm at Nakyesasa

The team on the inspection visit on 25th July 2022 comprised Heads of departments and other staff from CoVAB as well as representatives of the Project team that also made a tour of other enterprises on the farm including the banana plantation and discussed ways through which the different enterprises would synergize each other.

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Veterinary & Biosecurity

CoVAB Annual Report 2021

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Prof. Norbert Frank Mwiine, Principal CoVAB in the academic procession of the 72nd Graduation Ceremony on 25th May 2022, Makerere University.

It is a pleasure for me to present to you highlights of the achievements and milestones that the College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Bio Security has realized over the year 2021. The report covers what we were able to do based on the targets set out in the strategic plan amidst the challenges. The past year in my view was both an exhilarating and challenging time not only at CoVAB but generally at Makerere University and in the higher education sector in the country. All this is because it posed to us as leaders in the sector, unprecedented scenarios that needed quick action and innovativeness as well as changes in the way we usually handle the teaching and learning. Indeed, it was not business as usual.

The year 2021 marked a 50-year milestone in the teaching and learning on the Veterinary Sciences and the yearlong celebration of achievements fits in well with the Mak@100 mark of excellence of Makerere University.

This report gives some highlights of the tremendous achievements realized in the delivery of services responsive to the needs of the communities. The signing of an agreement between the College and Alfasan Uganda Limited to address the problem of ticks and tick-borne diseases in Africa is worth mentioning. As part of the COVAB@50 celebrations, Nakyesasa Livestock Industrial Research, Incubation and Skilling Centre was commissioned as an alternative model of skilling education, community and household transformation.

The College attracted a number of research grants that enhanced the practical teaching and learning experience at the college for both staff and students. Staff and students were able to reach out to the communities in need in the application of the skills and knowledge acquired through a number of studies and this made our presence felt among the communities for whom we exist.

I take this rare opportunity to appreciate the Government of Uganda and the University Administration for creating an enabling environment despite the hard times that saw us complete the academic year successfully. It is worth mentioning that all this has also been realized with support from our development partners to whom we are greatly indebted.

Based on the practice of collective responsibility, all that we have been able to do has been through the contribution of every member of staff at CoVAB, both Academic and Administrative and their input cannot go unnoticed. Suffice it to mention the great contribution made by my predecessor Prof. John David Kabasa who passed over the baton of leadership at the end of the year.

I take cognizance of the lessons learnt along the way and these will be some of the basis that will guide the course of implementation of the College mandate in the coming period.

Prof. Norbert Frank Mwiine
PRINCIPAL

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