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Veterinary & Biosecurity

Researchers utilize ICT to monitor & address Antimicrobial Use (AMU) & Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) in Animals

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Joseph Odoi & Harriet Musinguzi

A consortium of researchers from the College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB)-Makerere University, International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Kenya, University of Nairobi and Swedish University of Agriculture Sciences (SLU) have developed an Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) system to   address Anti-microbial resistance and monitor antibiotic usage in Livestock starting with poultry industry. This innovation comes at a time when AMR is emerging as a global health concern

Antimicrobial Resistance occurs when some of the germs (bacteria, virus, or fungus) that cause infections resist the effects of the medicines used to treat them. This may lead to ‘treatment failure’, or the inability to treat the cause of the infection.

The main drivers of antimicrobial resistance include the misuse and overuse of antimicrobials; lack of access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) for both humans and animals; poor infection and disease prevention and control in health-care facilities and farms; poor access to quality, affordable medicines, vaccines and diagnostics; lack of awareness and knowledge; and lack of enforcement of legislation.

To counter this trend,a two-day Project workshop titled  Management  of animal  diseases and antimicrobial use by  information and communication technology to control antimicrobial resistance in East Africa (MAD-tech AMR project 2022-2024 ) was convened at CoVAB) by the project Co-investigator Associate Professor Lawrence Mugisha aimed at sharing progress made by the research team.

Prof. Robert Tweyongyere, the Dean School of Veterinary Medicine and Animal resources, College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB) giving his remarks.

The workshop was opened by the College Principal represented by Prof. Robert Tweyongyere, the Dean School of Veterinary Medicine and Animal resources, College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB),who in a special way welcomed the participants to Makerere University.

He noted that  with support from Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences effective 12th June 2020, Makerere University in collaboration with Sweden, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) Kenya,  and University of Nairobi, the researchers embarked on implementing the MAD-tech-AMR project that aimed at providing an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) framework for improved monitoring and control of antimicrobial use (AMU) and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in livestock in low  and middle-income countries.

Prof. Robert Tweyongyere, who represented the Principal CoVAB, Prof. Frank Nobert Mwiine at the official opening of the two day engagement further  revealed that  antimicrobial resistance is now a leading global health and development threat  thus needs urgent attention.

“Tools to monitor antimicrobial Usage  are very important and that is why the MAD-tech-AMR project is necessary in this day”.  One of the biggest challenge we have is data collection and storage around  AMR  which this project is solving . Additionally , We are yet to see the toll of microbial resistance.  This research will bring out some fundamental issues given that microbial resistance is still a concept, yet to be appreciated’ he noted.

He equally thanked the project team led by Prof. Lawrence Mugisha for undertaking the project that affects every one’s livelihood.

Prof. Lawrence Mugisha, the Principal Investigator at Makerere University, in a summary update of MAD-tech-AMR project  said if left unchecked by 2050, AMR may contribute to up to 10 million deaths per year with low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) like Africa being victims.

Prof. Lawrence Mugisha makes his presentation at the workshop

In Context to Uganda, Prof. Lawrence Mugisha noted that with 80% of Ugandans depending on agriculture, the cost of AMR to the national economy and its health systems is significant and thus needs urgent attention.  He emphasized the importance of a multi-sectoral approach if sustainable development goals are to be achieved. He said that AMR has a great Impact on SDG1 (no poverty), SDG2 (zero hunger), SGD3 (good health and wellbeing), SDG6 (clean water and sanitation), SDG 8 (Decent work and economic growth), and SGD12 (responsible consumption and production).   Prof. Mugisha also shared the way forward to address the AMR challenges and these were;

  • Raising public awareness about AMR
  • Maintenance of sanitation and hygiene
  • Surveillance
  • Investing in human capital for innovative vaccines like herbal for the replacement of Antibiotic use.

As part of the study, researchers addressed the following key findings from the study;

  • Antibiotics were the most used drug by livestock farmers followed by dewormers. More so respiratory related infections was the most reported case followed by digestive problems like diarrhea. The most used antibiotic by farmers was Oxytetracycline Hydrochloride and procaine.
  • 2% of the farmers were female and 21.4% had attained a degree. Their mean age was 37.5 years. Most of the farmers specialized in Economics and business-related studies followed by those with no specific field of study. Majority of the farmers were funded by project owners (78.95%) and household members (16.14%). There were mainly managed by hired labor (44.56%) and household members (33.33%).
  • Worms and Typhoid were reported to be the biggest threat in regards to the health status of birds.
  • In terms of Management Practices, regular cleaning and disinfection were highly practiced by farmers.
  • Most farmers bought drugs from VET Shops and also consulted VETs
  • In regards to IT use, 97% of the farmers, and 100% of drug sellers and feed dealers have mobile phones; 69% of farmers had smart phones and were MTN and Airtel subscribers, and most too used the internet daily.
  • 70% of the veterinary doctors wished to call farmers
  • WhatsApp platforms and Facebook were the most commonly used online Channels

Prof. Lawrence Mugisha further emphasized that using the current ICT system developed by MAD-Tech-AMR team could favour the use of  mobile phones in monitoring AMU and  AMR.  ‘It would also be easy to work with common telecommunication companies (MTN and Airtel) to whom farmers had already subscribed. Real-time communication with veterinary doctors, feed dealers, drug sellers, and farmers themselves would be made easy. Since 80% of the farmers do farm-related activities, so deploying an IT system is easy in monitoring AMR use, he explained.

As part of monitoring AMU and AMR, Wangoru Kihara from MAD-tech-AMR Project, Kenya  shared a brief architecture of the upcoming IT application named: “Animal Disease Information System (ADIS) application developed by the Project which can link farmers to veterinary drug/pharmacy owners and veterinarians to get help in real-time.

In this Platform;

  • Different users like farmers(farmers, agrovets, vets) can download the application, register and log in.
  • After logging in, they can report a disease or browse disease symptoms or share drug usage details on their farms.
  • Access is through smartphones, computers, laptops.
  • Real-time processing of data is possible for users to visualize: agrovets- drugs sold, farms – disease history

           Mr. Wangoru Kihara explains the ADIS system developed by MADTECH project

In her presentation centered on the  MAD-tech-AMR project aims and objectives, Professor Susanna Sternberg Lewerin from Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Biomedical Sciences & Veterinary Public Health  revealed that although Antibiotics are powerful medical tools that allow curing of  serious infectious diseases in people and animals, it also has the ability to trigger bacteria to develop resistance to drugs thus the need to consult with professional practitioners before use.

               Dr. Sussanna Sternberg making a presentation at the event.

In context to bacteria developing resistance to drugs, Dr. Henry Kajumbula from the Department of Microbiology, Makerere University College of Health Sciences noted that in 2015, a situation analysis was conducted by the Uganda National Academic Science (UNAS) and it was found that some of the most reliable antibiotics with a high safety margin and great effectiveness were found to meet a high resistance of about 40%. “The prevailing conditions of hygiene and sanitation in our health care system also drive resistance to antibiotics.  Because of this situation, micro organisms become resistant to the most potent antibiotics. This situation is being recognised in the human health system because of the increase in bacterial infections which are failing to be treated” explained Dr. Kajumbula

              Dr. Kajumbula making a presentation at the event.

Moving  forward, the MAD-TECH-AMR project team  called upon farmers, Agrovets and  policy makers  to make use of  the Animal Disease Information System that will be rolled out soon .

During this event, participants namely farmers, agrovets, policy makers  among others  were trained how to use Animal Disease  Information System (ADIS) specifically how to log in, report a disease or share drug usage details by the ICT expert  in the workshop. Some of the key questions raised by participants include if the ADIS system will be translated into local languages and sustainability among others.

The ICT Expert Kihara demonstrates to participants how to log in and use the ADIS system

The MAD-Tech-AMR stakeholder engagement kicked off on  Thursday 27th   October 2022 at the Biosecurity centre in the College of Veterinary medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB) and run until Friday 28th October 2022.

More about the Project 

MAD-tech-AMR is a partnership between Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden, International Livestock Research Institute, Kenya, Makerere University, Uganda, and University of Nairobi, Kenya

This project is designed to provide proof of concept, applying a framework for surveillance of AMU, diseases that trigger AMU, and perceived problems with AMR, in East African poultry production systems. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) will be coupled with veterinary epidemiology and social science methods.

The ICT framework developed by the project will be pilot-tested in selected poultry production systems in Kenya and Uganda. The framework may be expanded in the future to allow the inclusion of diagnostic tools, but the initial focus is on clinical diagnosis based on tele-consultation and evidence-based therapeutic strategies.

Project Partners 

  • Susanna Sternberg Lewerin, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden (Coordinator)
  • Florence Mutua, International Livestock Research Institute, Kenya
  • Lawrence Mugisha, Makerere University, Uganda
  • Joshua Onono, University of Nairobi, Kenya

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Veterinary & Biosecurity

Career Guidance session for finalist students held at CoVAB

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A section of the students that attended the career talk at CEBIGH on Friday 5th April 2024. Career Guidance Session for Finalists, 5th April 2024, the Centre for Biosecurity and Global Health (CEBIGH), College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

The Livestock and Industrial Resources (LIR) Department at the College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB) conducted a career guidance session for finalist students of the Bachelor of Bachelor of Animal Production Technology and Management (BAPT) and Bachelor of Industrial Livestock and Business (BILB).

The session held in the Centre for Biosecurity and Global Health (CEBIGH), on Friday 5th April covered several vital areas including writing a curriculum vitae, interview skills, the student’s achievements given the expectations from society, career insights, and employment prospects as well as how to seek out opportunities for further studies.

The Head of LIR Department Dr. Dorothy Nampanzira addressed the students about what to expect out in the field. Career Guidance Session for Finalists, 5th April 2024, the Centre for Biosecurity and Global Health (CEBIGH), College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
The Head of LIR Department Dr. Dorothy Nampanzira addressed the students about what to expect out in the field.

The first of its kind in the unit, the career guidance event was facilitated by experienced academicians many of whom teaching staff at the college specifically drawn from the Livestock and Industrial Resources Department including Professor Anthony Mugisha, Dr. Kizza Daniel, Dr. Herbert Mukiibi, Dr. Dorothy Nampanzira, Dr. Kisaka Joanne, Dr. Azuba Rose. The Industry was represented by Mr. Kibirige Ponsiano, the Chairperson of the Animal Production Society of Uganda.

Dr. Dorothy Nampanzira, Head of the Livestock and Industrial Resources Department reminded the finalist students that once out in the field they were responsible for their day-to-day programming, and that worrying and looking for sympathy or excuses were not applicable. She said there were several people with wide experience in the world of work willing to nurture them citing the example of professors and other facilitators who were lined up to address them and urged the outgoing students to utilize them. She encouraged them to ask as many questions as they could to benefit from the interaction maximally.

Dr. Daniel Kizza addressed students on the best way to package themselves. Career Guidance Session for Finalists, 5th April 2024, the Centre for Biosecurity and Global Health (CEBIGH), College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Dr. Daniel Kizza addressed students on the best way to package themselves.

Dr. Daniel Kizza addressed the students on tips for writing a good CV.  He said as people hit the world of work for the first time there was a need to find the best ways of marketing themselves using a well-laid-out CV, and he gave them tips on the best-selling format to improve their chances although he said there was no standard format. He cautioned them that many people miss employment because of poorly structured CVs.  He further encouraged them to get a mentor who would offer support in areas that are important but were not taught in class. He said while writing the CV, they needed to tell the truth, use headings and subheadings, as well as regularly revise the CV  in consideration of whom it is addressed.  In the use of persons as referees, Dr. Kizza advised the students to inform them whenever they are used.

Finalist students listen attentively as they prepare to storm the world of work. Career Guidance Session for Finalists, 5th April 2024, the Centre for Biosecurity and Global Health (CEBIGH), College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Finalist students listen attentively as they prepare to storm the world of work.

Dr. Herbert Mukiibi while talking on the subject of employing others rather than seeking employment noted that several students who go out in the field end up not getting employed hence the need to start enterprises to employ others.  ‘Many employers will disappoint you and not give you jobs yet you can turn it around and instead of looking for a job, look out for problems’, he said.  He encouraged the students to turn what would have been a job description into problem identification given that the majority of employers look for persons able to solve problems.  ‘Go out and look for the problems, from circumstances like time, and space, and you advertise the problem, subtract 10% of the money, and pay salaries.  It is up to you to choose the arm of looking for jobs or to seek out solutions for problems by being innovative and getting self-employment, he emphasized, after sharing his own experiences in the field.

Dr. Herbert Mukiibi shares his innovations experiences in the field and how he became an employer. Career Guidance Session for Finalists, 5th April 2024, the Centre for Biosecurity and Global Health (CEBIGH), College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Dr. Herbert Mukiibi shares his innovations experiences in the field and how he became an employer.

Mr. Kibirige Ponsiano, the Chairperson of the Animal Production Society of Uganda (APSU) said their activities have been running with guidance from the university and their patron Prof. John David Kabasa. He explained the challenges they face as Animal Production Officials arising out of competition with other professions in the field and explained the steps taken so far to have them recognized as professionals in their own right.

Mr. Kibirige Ponsiano shared the experiences from the Industry. Career Guidance Session for Finalists, 5th April 2024, the Centre for Biosecurity and Global Health (CEBIGH), College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Mr. Kibirige Ponsiano shared the experiences from the Industry.

 ‘I’m humbled to be in this place that has made me what I am, having come to the college as a mature student, he said while appreciating the LIR Department for having considered them in addressing the students. He urged the university, the college, and the departments to find ways of absorbing more of the graduates into their farms, the departments, and the college. He encouraged the students to seek opportunities for further studies and increase their opportunities to work. He encouraged them to find work amongst the farmers instead of fighting for the few places in the formal sector and urged them to go out to farmers with solutions to their problems, which if addressed will help on increasing the farmer’s incomes.

Prof. Anthony Mugisha (L) interacts with students at the career event. Career Guidance Session for Finalists, 5th April 2024, the Centre for Biosecurity and Global Health (CEBIGH), College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Prof. Anthony Mugisha (L) interacts with students at the career event.

Prof. Anthony Mugisha urged the students to appreciate the difference between learning and education. ‘Are you aspiring to be educated or learned? Are you seeking out jobs or employment?, he queried as he called for a mindset change among the graduates. He explained that the problem at hand was narrowing our perspective in thinking that we train students to get jobs.  He said the animal Value chain was so wide that a person could look at the different aspects and work on citing the example of addressing droughts which was identified as a major challenge in animal production.

Further, he clarified the difference between the two programs Bachelor of Bachelor of Animal Production Technology and Management (BAPT) and Bachelor of Industrial Livestock and Business (BILB) saying that the products of BILB were expected to produce technologies while BAPT products were expected to add value.

The Career guidance session participants actively listen to the HoD, Dr. Nampanzira. Career Guidance Session for Finalists, 5th April 2024, the Centre for Biosecurity and Global Health (CEBIGH), College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
The Career guidance session participants actively listen to the HoD, Dr. Nampanzira.

Dr. Cathy Mbidde from the Makerere University Innovation pod was present and urged students to utilize the facility. Career Guidance Session for Finalists, 5th April 2024, the Centre for Biosecurity and Global Health (CEBIGH), College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Dr. Cathy Mbidde from the Makerere University Innovation pod was present and urged students to utilize the facility.

Dr. Rose Azuba (standing) addressed the students. Career Guidance Session for Finalists, 5th April 2024, the Centre for Biosecurity and Global Health (CEBIGH), College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Dr. Rose Azuba (standing) addressed the students.

Dr. Joanne Kisaka facilitated the career session. Career Guidance Session for Finalists, 5th April 2024, the Centre for Biosecurity and Global Health (CEBIGH), College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Dr. Joanne Kisaka facilitated the career session.

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The Africa Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) mission at Makerere University

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Staff and students pose for a photo after interacting with the team at the Centre for Biosecurity and Global Health in CoVAB, on Monday 11th March 2024. The Africa Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) mission to assess the suitability for hosting a Regional Centre of Excellence in Fisheries and Aquaculture in Africa, 11th to 12th March 2024, College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB) and College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

Makerere University has been subjected to an assessment to determine its suitability for hosting a Regional Centre of Excellence in Fisheries and Aquaculture in Africa. The evaluation follows a jointly submitted Expression of Interest by the College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB) and the College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS).

The Africa Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) mission was at Makerere from 11th to 12th March 2024, specifically at the colleges that offer fisheries related programs, CoVAB and CoNAS where they looked at the suitability of the existing Teaching and Research Facilities and other parameters necessary for the establishment of a center of excellence.

The team comprised of Etienne Hinrichsen the leader together with Patrick Karani, from AU-IBAR, and Daniel Adjei Boateng the Aquaculture Expert on the mission undertook a two-day in-depth review of the state of affairs of Makerere University in order to make an informed decision in regard to its suitability to host the center. According to Etienne Hinrichsen, aquatic animal health has got a leg in various areas and that staff within the institution were better placed to understand this unlike those from outside.  He said their excursion in Makerere offered a learning experience that would enrich their evaluation. It is always difficult to evaluate something while on your desk and it gets much richer when you see it on the ground, he said while appreciating the staff that took them around. A lot was seen in terms of physical infrastructure and what remains now is to correlate the human capacity in order to determine what AU-IBAR can do for you or what you can do as a centre of excellence in Africa, he observed. He observed that Makerere University was already collaborating with the National Fisheries Resources Research Institute (NaFFIRI), which was an advantage because of the good relations it has with AU. Other areas of concern he said, include accessibility matters for international students since the centre will serve the entire continent.

(L-R) Prof. Charles Masembe (CoNAS), Dr. Papias Tibihika (NARO-Kajjansi) Dr. Etienne Hinrichsen (AU-IBAR), Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (VC), Assoc. Prof. Jesca Nakavuma (CoVAB), Dr. Patrick Karani (AU-IBAR), Dr. Daniel Adjei Boateng (AU-IBAR), during the  courtesy call. The Africa Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) mission to assess the suitability for hosting a Regional Centre of Excellence in Fisheries and Aquaculture in Africa, 11th to 12th March 2024, College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB) and College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
(L-R) Prof. Charles Masembe (CoNAS), Dr. Papias Tibihika (NARO-Kajjansi) Dr. Etienne Hinrichsen (AU-IBAR), Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (VC), Assoc. Prof. Jesca Nakavuma (CoVAB), Dr. Patrick Karani (AU-IBAR), Dr. Daniel Adjei Boateng (AU-IBAR), during the courtesy call.

While interacting with the AU-IBAR mission, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, expressed optimism that Makerere University was best suited to host the center since it had in place all that was needed to offer the required trainings and research.  He said the university’s move towards becoming research led and the various policies and facilities in place were a fertile ground for taking on training in the fisheries sector, an area that was increasingly getting onboard due to the demand for fish in the country and the region. ‘If the AU mission is to give us opportunity to do even better in what we are doing, I will be very happy,’ he said adding that the university was a host of students from 39 other countries who would also be beneficiaries since Uganda has a big coverage of lakes and rivers coupled with the increase in the fish farming enterprise.  Further he said with the exploding population in Africa, unless we find solutions for food security, we must be prepared for very unstable people in the near future, justifying the reason why Makerere University should host the centre of excellence.

The mission interacted with a section of members of staff and graduate students both at CoVAB and CoNAS.

The team interacted with international students in the AWaRMN program at CoNAS and drew lessons. The Africa Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) mission to assess the suitability for hosting a Regional Centre of Excellence in Fisheries and Aquaculture in Africa, 11th to 12th March 2024, College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB) and College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
The team interacted with international students in the AWaRMN program at CoNAS and drew lessons.

The AU-IBAR verification visit to Makerere University as one of the institutions for selection as Africa Centers of Excellence in Fisheries and Aquaculture reviewed a number of areas including

  • existence of the relevant curricula;
  • related disciplines taught in the institution;
  • number of staff in disciplines like qualification and years and nature of experience;
  •  Percentage of students from each cohort that have graduated from the institution over the past;
  • capacity to undertaken research and develop new information and technology;
  • peer reviewed publications, popular articles and other information targeting stakeholders;
  • relevant policies, administrative and financial management systems in place.
A visit to some of the teaching facilities at CoVAB.
A visit to some of the teaching facilities at CoVAB.
A visit to some of the teaching facilities at CoNAS. The Africa Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) mission to assess the suitability for hosting a Regional Centre of Excellence in Fisheries and Aquaculture in Africa, 11th to 12th March 2024, College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB) and College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
A visit to some of the teaching facilities at CoNAS.

Once selected, Makerere University will champion the training in Fisheries and Aquaculture through graduate training in Masters, PhD and short-term courses, as well as applied research in the form of partnerships and collaborations with other institutions and the private sector.

One of the labs visited. The Africa Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) mission to assess the suitability for hosting a Regional Centre of Excellence in Fisheries and Aquaculture in Africa, 11th to 12th March 2024, College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB) and College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
One of the labs visited.

Makerere University hosts the Africa Center of Excellence in Materials, Product Development and Nanotechnology (MAPRONANO ACE) and Makerere University Regional Centre for Crop Improvement (MaRCCI).

Pictorial

The Africa Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) mission to assess the suitability for hosting a Regional Centre of Excellence in Fisheries and Aquaculture in Africa, 11th to 12th March 2024, College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB) and College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

The Africa Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) mission to assess the suitability for hosting a Regional Centre of Excellence in Fisheries and Aquaculture in Africa, 11th to 12th March 2024, College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB) and College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

The Africa Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) mission to assess the suitability for hosting a Regional Centre of Excellence in Fisheries and Aquaculture in Africa, 11th to 12th March 2024, College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB) and College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

The Africa Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) mission to assess the suitability for hosting a Regional Centre of Excellence in Fisheries and Aquaculture in Africa, 11th to 12th March 2024, College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB) and College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

The Africa Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) mission to assess the suitability for hosting a Regional Centre of Excellence in Fisheries and Aquaculture in Africa, 11th to 12th March 2024, College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB) and College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

The Africa Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) mission to assess the suitability for hosting a Regional Centre of Excellence in Fisheries and Aquaculture in Africa, 11th to 12th March 2024, College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB) and College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

The Africa Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) mission to assess the suitability for hosting a Regional Centre of Excellence in Fisheries and Aquaculture in Africa, 11th to 12th March 2024, College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB) and College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

The Africa Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) mission to assess the suitability for hosting a Regional Centre of Excellence in Fisheries and Aquaculture in Africa, 11th to 12th March 2024, College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB) and College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

The Africa Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) mission to assess the suitability for hosting a Regional Centre of Excellence in Fisheries and Aquaculture in Africa, 11th to 12th March 2024, College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB) and College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

The Africa Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) mission to assess the suitability for hosting a Regional Centre of Excellence in Fisheries and Aquaculture in Africa, 11th to 12th March 2024, College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB) and College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

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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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