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Veterinary & Biosecurity

Antimicrobial Awareness Resistance Awareness Week, 18th-24th November, 2022: “Public Cautioned on Self Medication & Misuse of Drugs”

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By Joseph Odoi

Assoc. Prof. Lawrence Mugisha  from the College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Bio Security (CoVAB), Makerere University has cautioned the general public on self-medication and  misuse of drugs.

This call comes at a time when microbial infections are becoming increasingly resistant to available drugs under the scientific phenomenon known as Antimicrobial resistance

According to WHO, Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites change over time and no longer respond to medicines, making infections harder to treat and increasing the risk of disease spread, severe illness and death. As a result of drug resistance,antibiotics and other antimicrobial medicines become ineffective and infections become increasingly difficult or impossible to treat.

Prof. Lawrence Mugisha making a presentation on combating AMR during the dialogue held at Hotel Africana.
Prof. Lawrence Mugisha making a presentation on combating AMR during the dialogue held at Hotel Africana.

While gracing the   Antimicrobial resistance Awareness Week Dialogue (AMR) held at Hotel Africana, Kampala Uganda, Prof. Lawrence Mugisha said Antimicrobial resistance is on the rise locally and globally mainly due to over consumption and misuse of antimicrobials thus need for urgent attention.

‘’Antimicrobial resistance is on the rise locally and globally mainly due to over consumption and misuse of antimicrobials. Self-medication is now rampant in low and middle-income countries especially here in Uganda where antimicrobials especially antibiotics are accessed over the counter in pharmacies and drug shops without a prescription throughout the country.

 There are wide malpractices among professionals dealing with drugs despite the existing regulations and guidelines for prescriptions. The majority of the consumers and end users are not aware of the consequences of just taking antibiotics, taking low doses, not finishing the dose while dealing with conditions that have not been properly diagnosed.

There are a number of misuse practices with antibiotics that have not been well explored and discussed publicly like sharing of antibiotic doses among family members, use of antibiotics meant for human treatment in animals and vice versa.

In livestock practice, the situation is worse especially when antibiotics are used for disease prevention in feeds and water, a common practice in poultry farming.  These malpractices and misuses in using antimicrobials require urgent attention in all efforts to addressing antimicrobial resistance challenges’’ explained Prof. Mugisha. 

‘’We require massive campaigns to raise public awareness on the dangers and consequences of the inappropriate use of antibiotics and appropriate actions expected from every actor at different levels. The package of different actions to address antimicrobial resistance should be universal using one health approach’’ he recommended moving forward.

In his remarks to mark the overall Awareness event held at Nakasongola District, Mr. Musa Ssekamatte on behalf of the National One Health Platform (event organizers) welcomed participants to the event. He noted that the main purpose of the World Anti-Microbial Awareness Week is to increase awareness and understanding of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and promote best practice among the general public to reduce emergence and spread of drug-resistant pathogens.

Mr. Musa Ssekamatte giving his remarks.
Mr. Musa Ssekamatte giving his remarks.

Citing the WHO report, Mr. Sekamatte noted that AMR is one of the emerging public health challenges that if left unchecked will contribute to 10 million deaths per year.

To address this problem, Mr. Sekamatte revealed that a national one health platform was established to enable Uganda implement the National Action Plan against AMR. The National One Health Platform enables different sectors to work together in prevention, detection and control.

As part of the national action plan against AMR, He highlighted the following

  • Awareness
  • Surveillance
  • Training
  • Research

 In his remarks, Muyanja Elaad -the secretary for health and Education at Nakasongola representing the Resident District Commissioner thanked National One Health Platform for handpicking Nakasongola as a host District for this year’s AMR Awareness Celebrations. He noted that AMR is now a serious concern adding that AMR touches everyone thus need for a multi-sectoral approach. He called upon all participants to be patriotic by observing hygiene in human health and animals, proper eating habits.

Muyanja Elaad -the secretary for health and Education at Nakasongola  District.
Muyanja Elaad -the secretary for health and Education at Nakasongola District.

During the long week WAAW sessions, participants were introduced to some of the strategies to promote responsible uptake of antimicrobials and innovations and safe practices aimed at lowering uptake of antimicrobials in plants, animals and humans among others. The Awareness Week attracted notable government officials namely; Nsamba David-Nakasongola District Fisheries Officer, Uma Charles, the Chief Administrative Officer at Nakasongola and Nakamya Sarah –the Nakasongola District Production Officer among others. The day’s activity was coordinated by Dr. Ssekamatte of the One Health Platform . To read about how to prevent AMR visit: https://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/1330872/icode/

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Veterinary & Biosecurity

AFRISA: Call for Applications for Diploma & Certificate Programs

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A female AFRISA Graduate tends to her poultry business. Photo credit: AFRISA.

About AFRISA

The AFRISA program is an innovation of the Government of Uganda and Makerere University for deliberately providing a unique and alternative model of education that combines wholesome skilling, enterprise development and community socio-economic transformation to mitigate the challenges of poverty, peasantry, school dropout and unemployment. AFRISA programs are accredited by two accreditation bodies:-

  1. Higher Education Qualifications Framework awarded by College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB) –Mak, and
  2. Uganda Vocational qualifications Framework (UVQF) awarded by Directorate of Industrial Trainings (DIT).Learners can grow through both pathways.

Application for 2023

AFRISA is receiving applications for the February and July 2023 intakes study leading to Diploma and Certificate awards in the following industrial value chain:

  1. Laboratory Science Education and Industry
  2. Poultry Industry and Business
  3. Dairy Industry and Business
  4. Feed Industry and Business
  5. Leather Industry and Business
  6. Pig Industry and Business
  7. Meat Industry and Business
  8. Bee Industry and Business 
  9. Fish Industry and Business
  10. Wildlife Industry and Business

Program Duration and Minimum requirement

  1. Higher Education Qualifications Frame work
  Program AwardMinimum Duration  Minimum Requirement
Ordinary Diploma2 yearsOne principal pass in any of: Bio, Chem, Phy, Math, Agri, Geog, F&N, Econ, Entand two subsidiaries in any of the subjects offered at the same sitting or UVQF Level 2
Ordinary Certificate2 yearsO-level with atleast five credits obtained at the same sitting or UVQF level 1
2. Uganda Vocational Qualifications Frame work
Artisan Level 1,2, 3 and 4Duration depends on minimum entry level and dedicated timeBasic education. One can grow from level 1 to 4 (equivalent to Diploma)  

Telephone Contacts: +256 775893290, +256 754552194, +256 781502330  

Online Application:   https://www.afrisa.org/application.html

Email and website:  E-Mail: info@afrisa.org     Web: www.afrisa.org

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Veterinary & Biosecurity

Researchers embark on Capacitating One Health in Eastern and Southern Africa (COHESA) Project in Uganda

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Seated (Left to Right): Prof. Clovice Kankya, Prof. James Okwee Acai, Rose Nakabugo from the Office of the Prime Minister and other key One Health stakeholders at the project launch on 7th December, 2022, CoVAB, Makerere University.

By Joseph Odoi

Makerere University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Bio Security (CoVAB), with a consortium of partners, namely the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD) and International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech (ISAAA) have embarked on implementing a new project titled; Capacitating One Health in Eastern and Southern Africa (COHESA) Project, funded by the European Union.

This project aims to generate an inclusive Research & Innovation ecosystem, facilitating rapid uptake, adaption and adoption of solutions to issues that can be dealt with using a One Health approach, with the One Health concept embedded across society in Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA), working for healthy humans, animals and environments.

The project was launched during a stakeholders meeting held on 7th December 2022 at the Biosecurity Centre, Makerere University. The function was graced by Prof. James Okwee Acai, the Deputy Principal of CoVAB, Rose Nakabugo from the Office of the Prime Minister and other government institutions   that include Ministry of Health, Kyambogo University and the National One Health Platform among others.

While officially launching the project, Prof. Clovice Kankya, the Project’s Principal Investigator (PI) for East Africa welcomed the participants to the event. He noted that; the world is facing unprecedented, inter-connected threats to the health of people, animals, and the environment; addressing these threats requires cross-sectoral, systems-wide approaches.

“The One Health concept recognizes the interconnection between people, animals, plants, and the environment.COVID-19 and its origins as a zoonotic pathogen is a particularly pertinent example, but One Health concerns many of the other major threats of our time, such as climate change and disease emergence, antimicrobial resistance, ecosystem destruction with loss of biodiversity and the fragility of food and feed systems.

 In a globalised world, it is imperative that all nations and societies better manage One Health. In this project we look to build One Health capacity in Eastern and Southern Africa” Prof.Kankya explained of the new project

Expected outputs

  • Government entities with OH mandates and OH stakeholders across society capacitated in cross-sectoral collaboration around OH
  • Government entities capacitated in the development of evidence-based OH strategies and policies
  • National secondary, tertiary, and vocational education institutes strengthened in building OH capacity for the next generation workforce
  • Research institutes capacitated in training next generation OH researchers
  • Research institutes capacitated in identification, development, adaption, and delivery of OH solutions (technologies, soft skills and strategic approaches for addressing current challenges)
  • Service providers (public, private) capacitated in identification, adoption and delivery of OH solutions
  • OH related Public-Private Partnerships strengthened in delivery of OH solutions and consultation on OH issues
  • Contribution to emerging understanding on OH, its appropriate use and added value
  • Knowledge and Information on OH research and policies in ESA promoted through project platforms

In his remarks, Professor James Okwee Acai, the Deputy Principal on behalf of the Principal Prof. Norbert Frank Mwiine emphasized the importance multi-sectoral approach and collaboration in One Health adding that capacity building is key in One Health research. He also thanked partners for choosing to work with Makerere University as a trusted partner in One Health research.

Prof. James Okwee Acai, the Deputy Principal of the College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Bio-security (CoVAB).
Prof. James Okwee Acai, the Deputy Principal of the College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Bio-security (CoVAB).

In her remarks, Rose Nakabugo from the Office of the Prime Minister said, ‘Uganda as a country is faced by zoonotic diseases thus the coming of COHESA will help in addressing these challenges affecting humans, animals and environment.’ She, in a special way, thanked the project team lead for Uganda, Prof. Kankya for taking lead in an initiative that will help in knowledge generation and provide direction for One Health including a curriculum for further education in One Health

Rose Nakabugo from the Office of the Prime Minister reaffirmed government’s commitment in One Health Initiative.
Rose Nakabugo from the Office of the Prime Minister reaffirmed government’s commitment in One Health Initiative.

During this launch, One Health Stakeholders were taken through focus group discussions, interviews with key stakeholders were organized, and the Q & A feedback and evaluations were collected. The focus group session was chaired by Mr. Okello Justine from COVAB

Mr. Justine Okello from CoVAB leading participants through a Q&A session as part of COHESA Project Work.
Mr. Justine Okello from CoVAB leading participants through a Q&A session as part of COHESA Project Work.

Some of the issues highlighted by the participants were relevance of One Health at their workplace, the importance of capacity building in one health, funding challenges around One Health, capacity building, coordination and collaborations around One Health, what should be done to promote One Health and challenges and the future of One Health in 10 years from now.

More about the Project

The COHESA project consortium works with in-country multiplier organizations (mostly One Health research and implementation organizations) to deliver the project to beneficiaries, mainly government, education, research and service providers engaged in One Health.

Duration: December 2021-November 2025  (funded by the European Union)

Project Leads:

Theo Knight-Jones (ILRI), Alexandre Caron (CIRAD); Margaret Karembu (ISAAA)

For more information, visit the project website: https://www.ilri.org/research/projects/capacitating-one-health-eastern-and-southern-africa

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Veterinary & Biosecurity

Uganda Commemorates One Health Day with a call for a Multi-Sectoral Approach to address emerging health threats

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Participants pose for a group photo in the Presidential Hall, Kampala where one-health day was marked under the theme “Our Planet, Our Health” on 3rd November 2022.

By Joseph Odoi

On 3rd November 2022, Uganda joined the rest of the world in celebrating One Health Day. This year marks the seventh  annual One Health Day, a global campaign that celebrates and brings attention to the need for a One Health approach to address shared health threats at the human-animal-environment interface.

One Health Day is an initiative that gives One Health advocates and practitioners around the world a powerful voice for moving beyond provincial approaches to emerging zoonotic infectious diseases, antimicrobial resistance, climate change, environmental pollution, food safety, comparative/ translational medicine and many other problems, to a holistic, One Health, way of thinking and acting for the benefit of all living creatures.

While giving a keynote speech at Presidential Hall in Kampala under the theme “Our Planet, Our Health” at the Office of the President in Kampala, Dr. Lawrence Mugisha, an Associate Professor at Makerere University College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Bio-Security (CoVAB) in a special way welcomed participants to the One-Health day celebrations. He noted that there’s urgent need for all sectors to work together if emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases and other public health threats are to be addressed.

“The challenges we face today whether health-related like emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases or public disasters like flooding, drought among others are complex, cross-cutting and cross different borders requiring one health approach which is multidisciplinary that facilitates collaboration, coordination and communication among different professionals/disciplines to address the public health events quickly. This helps to quickly identify appropriate interventions timely and use available resources effectively,”

Prof. Lawrence Mugisha giving a Keynote Address at the event.
Prof. Lawrence Mugisha giving a Keynote Address at the event.

Citing WHO data, Professor Mugisha noted AMR one of the emerging public health challenges which if left unchecked will contribute to 10 million deaths per year

To address these challenges, Prof.Mugisha recommended the following

  • Raising public awareness about AMR and AMU
  • Promoting water, hygiene and sanitation
  • Enhanced AMR/AMU Surveillance in humans, animals and environment
  • Investing in human capital for innovative research in vaccines and alternative therapeutic approaches like herbal use for the replacement of Antibiotic use.

In her presentation titled; Progress of Implementation of the anti-microbial resistance national action plan, Dr. Hellen Byomire Ndagije from National Drug Authority  emphasized the importance of raising awareness to combat anti-microbial resistance adding that national drug authority has been holding Meetings to raise awareness of antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) among health workers in pharmacies, and drug shops both human and animal medicine use

Dr. Hellen Ndagije from NDA making a presentation.
Dr. Hellen Ndagije from NDA making a presentation.

As part of capacity building to address AMR, she supported strengthening the Medicine Therapeutic Committees (MTCs) in regional referral hospitals with logistical support and technical training on rational medicine use and pharmacovigilance. In terms of antibiotics demand, she noted Uganda currently imports over 50,000 kilograms which should call for close vigilance.

To promote optimal access and use of antimicrobials, she recommended regular and risk-based testing of imported antimicrobials and medical equipment to assure their quality. She emphasized the need for good distribution practice standards to guarantee that antimicrobials are restored and dispensed in a way that does not compromise quality or efficacy.  She said there was need to promote good manufacturing practices (GMP) inspections for both foreign and local drug manufacturers to ensure compliance to quality standards of manufacture, in addition to  enforcing compliance monitoring and support supervision of human and veterinary drug outlets to ensure compliance to drug regulatory requirements.

As a way forward, she made recommendations that included the strengthening of stakeholder engagement, awareness, training and collaboration.  The need for improved access to quality, safe and efficacious antimicrobials was emphasized in addition to strengthening pharmacovigilance: reporting ADE (AMR surveillance)

Dr. Ndadije stressed the need to promote rational use of drugs as well as investing in research and innovations

In her presentation, Dr. Lydia Nakiire under the Project titled 7-1-7 timeliness at Infectious Diseases Institute, Global Health Security Program said   the Ministry of Health conducted a pilot study, ‘To Save Lives’ through Infectious Diseases Institute to identify bottlenecks causing delays in detection, notification and response.

During the study, she said, it was observed that application of One Health during responses to public health emergencies was one of the major enablers for timely initiation of early response.  ‘’Recent outbreaks like Ebola Sudan virus disease and COVID 19 make it necessary to review the lessons learnt from recent public health events, reevaluate approaches and develop frameworks to measure progress towards making the world safe from public health threats.

The 7-1-7 framework proposes timeliness matrix with defined targets; 7 days to suspected outbreak detection, 1 day for public health authorities to be notified and the investigation is initiated within 7days. The 7-1-7 metric can supplement existing capacity measurements of the International Health Regulations (2005), including the Joint External Evaluation and Global Health Security Index’ explained Dr. Nakiire.

Dr. Lydia Nakiire making a presentation highlighting innovations under the Project titled 7-1-7 Timeliness.

In his presentation on behalf of Dr. Immaculate Nabukenya, Senior Project Manager, NAPHS A-Team Uganda Herbert Bakiika shared the progress of Implementation of the Uganda National Action Plan for Health Security (NAPHS) and 2022 Operational Plan. 

Herbert Bakiika making a presentation on the Uganda National Action Plan for Health Security (NAPHS) and 2022 Operational Plan.
Herbert Bakiika making a presentation on the Uganda National Action Plan for Health Security (NAPHS) and 2022 Operational Plan.

He noted there is progress in the following as mechanism of addressing AMR, and that the guidelines for mandatory license were drafted, but not approved.  He further said that decentralizing One Health in 50 districts by 2024 to strengthen coordination of surveillance and response to zoonotic diseases was underway. Uganda committed to achieving demonstrated capacity in at least 3 technical areas by 2024.

He said the other milestone was licensing of all laboratories across animal, human, food, nuclear and chemical sectors by 2024 to strengthen the national laboratory network. On how this will be achieved, she said government was to liaise with professional councils to license laboratories in line with basic Quality Management Services (QMS)​​

Dr. Jonathan Mayito from Uganda Fleming Fund highlighted Inadequate human resources in the microbiology laboratories, Irrational and overuse of antibiotics, Lack of AMR data sharing across one health sectors, Lack of structures response to the emerging AMR epidemic as some of the challenges that needed to be addressed.

Dr. Mayito cited lack of AMR data sharing across one health sectors.
Dr. Mayito cited lack of AMR data sharing across one health sectors.

Moving forward, he recommended streamlining the supply of microbiology supplies by National Medical Stores, Increase human resources allocation through public service commission, data sharing agreement to enable data sharing to inform strategies and above all creating a National Task Force to investigate and respond to AMR   alerts/outbreaks.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)’s Country Director, Bessong Willington emphasized the importance of capacity building to support timely intervention when addressing disease outbreaks. He called upon different sectors to work collaboratively and in a multidisciplinary fashion under the One Health Approach.

In his remarks read by Dr. John Opolot, Dr. Henry Mwebesa congratulated participants for marking the one-health day. He that 61% of all existing human infections in the past decade have been zoonotic including Ebola, HIV, and influenza and that 80 % of pathogens could potentially be used for bio terrorism.

In addition, to effectively strengthen One Health initiatives in Uganda, the Ministry of Health has embarked on roll out of the third edition of the integrated disease surveillance and response in over seven health regions using One Health approaches.  The ministry, he said, also piloted integrated (both animal and human) sample transportation from communities using the hub transportation network using One Health Approaches.

On the importance of a multi-sectoral approach towards addressing public health challenges, Dr. Mwebesa emphasized the importance of involving all state and non-state actors including civil society and the private sector in one-health programmes.

Dr. John Opolot.
Dr. John Opolot.

In terms of government commitment, Dr. Mwebesa noted that The Ministry of Health will continue to support the One Health initiative, and currently government is funding division of veterinary public health and zoonoses  which is supporting decentralization of One Health in over 30 districts to strengthen multi-sectoral emergency preparedness at sub-national level.

On current outbreak of Ebola, Dr. Mwebesa said   The ministry of health shall continue to engage the National One Health platform in the current epidemic and urged all stakeholders to observe standard operating procedures to prevent the spread of Ebola virus disease. He equally thanked     development, Implementing Partners and private sector partners for the financial and technical support towards the One Health initiatives as long forward to prevention, detection and response to emerging public health emergencies in the country.

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