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Veterinary & Biosecurity

Researchers Embark on Cross-Disciplinary Alliance to Identify, PREdict & prePARe for Emerging Vector-Borne Diseases (PREPARE4VBD)

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By Joseph Odoi

Vector-borne diseases (VBDs) constitute a major challenge facing African healthcare systems and economies today. But vector-borne diseases also increasingly pose a threat to Europe, as novel outbreaks of VBDs of both animals and humans, along with an increased spread of invasive vectors, is anticipated to occur more frequently in the future. Globalization, climatic and environmental changes are important drivers behind this development. Nevertheless, there is a general lack of knowledge of the key characteristics that allow certain vectors and the diseases they transmit to spread and establish in new, previously disease-free areas in both Africa and Europe

To combat this growing threat, the GLOBE Institute at the University of Copenhagen and the Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences at the University of Copenhagen, along with partners from Europe and Africa including Makerere University, received research funding from European Union (EU) for the five year  project (2021-2025)entitled“A Cross-Disciplinary Alliance to Identify, PREdict and prePARe for Emerging Vector-Borne Diseases (PREPARE4VBD)”.

PREPARE4VBD is a multi-disciplinary consortium that brings together 10 university and ministerial partners from 5 African and 3 European countries, united to address a future with increasingly changing global patterns of zoonotic vector-borne diseases through a holistic, pro-active approach that reaches beyond specific diseases, vector species, borders or scientific disciplines.

While launching the Project during the stakeholders engagement workshop at Centre for Biosecurity and Global Health, CoVAB, Makerere University,Professor Lawrence Mugisha in a special way welcomed participants to the event. He noted that the cross disciplinary team of researchers were inspired to undertake the project  following recent research findings  that highlighted the high diversity of ticks, tick burden and numerous diseases transmitted by ticks in Uganda.

‘’The project is cross-disciplinary involving partners from human and veterinary health, as well as natural and social sciences. Researchers are focusing on three main areas, including the development of new molecular diagnostics technologies, the development of mathematical and statistical models to predict disease outbreaks and spread, and the strengthening of research and surveillance capacity in both Africa and Europe. The researchers will also be using a One Health approach, which calls for cross-disciplinary cooperation between various professional groups to tackle the challenges posed by these diseases from a holistic perspective on health in animals, humans, and the environment’’ explained Professor  Mugisha  who is  Project Principal Investigator at Makerere University

Professor Lawrence Mugisha giving an overview of the Project at the Workshop.
Professor Lawrence Mugisha giving an overview of the Project at the Workshop.

A cross-disciplinary approach is vital

According to  the Project Lead-Professor Anna-Sofie Stensgaard from the Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences at the University of Copenhagen,Many countries already have well-established systems for monitoring vector-borne diseases of livestock and humans, respectively. But they often lag behind when it comes to diseases that can jump from animals to humans, so-called zoonoses.

“We need to develop better systems for early detection and early warning when these vectors or the diseases they spread move into new, previously disease-free areas. But the systems should also be able to predict the longer-term change in disease patterns due to e.g. rising temperatures and altered precipitation patterns.

“Likewise, we need to ensure that the science and tools we develop in the project can be implemented by the relevant authorities and society. This calls for a cross-disciplinary approach that involves partners from sectors and disciplines within both human and veterinary health, as well as natural and social science,” explains Anna-Sofie Stensgaard.

The PREPARE4VBD framework and work package organization

The PREPARE4VBD framework will enable the integration of different existing and novel data on zoonotic vector-borne diseases and tools to:

A) Build knowledge of neglected tick-, mosquito- and snail borne VBDs of importance for animal and human health in endemic African countries,

B) Assess their capacity to adapt and spread to new areas using a holo-genomics approach and climate change impact modelling,

C) Supported by novel diagnostic tools for new and rapid VBD discoveries and model-based surveillance for early warning, and

D) Strengthening the capacity for surveillance and detection of the targeted VBDs through training and effective communication of project results and dissemination of freely available data and tools to consortium partners and other relevant stakeholders

Vector-Borne Diseases (VBDs) Project Management.
Vector-Borne Diseases (VBDs) Project Management.

The stakeholder’s workshop attracted  over 70 participants ranging from government officials, academia,media, farmers and one- health officials among others.Key issues discussed by participants include importance of dissemination, effective communication by researchers to influence policy, need to develop diagnostic tools and model based surveillance for early detection and early warning about Vector borne diseases.

Dr. David Musoke at the event highlighting the importance of multidisciplinary research including environmental health in addressing emerging Vector-Borne Diseases.
Dr. David Musoke at the event highlighting the importance of multidisciplinary research including environmental health in addressing emerging Vector-Borne Diseases.

More About The PREPARE4VBD Project

The PREPARE4VBD project, part of the research and innovation actions under Horizon 2020 (Grant agreement No 101000365: https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/101000365), will be coordinated by The University of Copenhagen’s GLOBE Institute and Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences. This international collaboration brings together a diverse group of partners from universities, institutes, and government agencies to enhance preparedness and response capacities for vector-borne diseases.   In addition to contributing to the development of better surveillance systems, the project will also offer courses, webinars, and workshops for African and European PhD students and researchers, as well as launch information campaigns to share project results with society.

The partners involved in this project are:

  • Makerere University (Uganda)
  • Sokoine University of Agriculture (Tanzania)
  • University of KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa)
  • University of Naples Federico II (Italy)
  • Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Switzerland)
  • University of Bern (Switzerland)
  • International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (Kenya)
  • Vector Control Division, Uganda Ministry of Health (Uganda)
  • Centre Suisse de Recherches Scientifiques (Côte d’Ivoire)
  • National Institute for Medical Research (Tanzania)

Veterinary & Biosecurity

Rabies Exposure Assessment & Contact Tracing App (REACT), another milestone in rabies surveillance in Uganda; A status update of the implementation of the eRabies project

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Principal Investigator, Dr. Terrence Odoch, (L) Prof. Sonja Hartnack from the University of Zurich (R). College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda and the Universities of Zurich and Bern, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation, eRabies project, Rabies Exposure Assessment & Contact Tracing (REACT) App Pilot, 2nd - 3rd May 2024, Arua District, Uganda, East Africa.

The eRabies project was launched in March 2023 at the Centre for Biosecurity and Global Health, Makerere University. To date, a lot has been realized through several stakeholders working together toward the global goal of eliminating dog-mediated rabies by 2030.

This project is a collaboration between Makerere University‘s College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity, and the Universities of Zurich and Bern, and funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation.

The four-year intervention through its seven work streams was initially implemented in the Districts of Kampala, Soroti, and Kyegegwa and has stretched to include Arua, courtesy of other stakeholders including the NGO Mission Rabies that came on board along the way.

By the time of the launch, the stakeholders involved included Makerere University College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB), School of Public Health, College of Health Sciences, and the Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI), working in collaboration with the Universities of Bern and Zurich from Switzerland.

Prof. Sonja Hartnack from the University of Zurich spoke at the project launch at CoVAB. College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda and the Universities of Zurich and Bern, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation, eRabies project, Rabies Exposure Assessment & Contact Tracing (REACT) App Pilot, 2nd - 3rd May 2024, Arua District, Uganda, East Africa.
Prof. Sonja Hartnack from the University of Zurich spoke at the project launch at CoVAB.

According to Prof. Sonja Hartnack, from the Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Zurich, the project has addressed several work packages in addition to the initial Surveillance systems and integrated dog bite case management. During a project brief with staff at the College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity recently, it was revealed that the four-year project has made great strides as evidenced by the outcomes of several workshops conducted.

Prof. Sonja Hartnack said further to efforts towards the electronic surveillance of dog bites which started with the launch workshop held in August 2023, another workshop was held in Arua on May 2-3, 2024 for the pilot of the REACT App, a tool created by CDC and Mission Rabies for Integrated Bite Case Management. REACT is the abbreviation for Rabies Exposure Assessment & Contact Tracing App. The workshop brought together stakeholders from both animal and human health sectors, drawn from the district to national levels.  During the workshop, there were in-depth discussions regarding the current rabies surveillance system across the four target districts in Uganda.  The meeting explored how the REACT App can enhance the integrated bite case management system and data management process in rabies.

Participants at the e-rabies surveillance workshop in Arua, May 2nd -3rd, 2024. (Courtesy photo) College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda and the Universities of Zurich and Bern, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation, eRabies project, Rabies Exposure Assessment & Contact Tracing (REACT) App Pilot, 2nd - 3rd May 2024, Arua District, Uganda, East Africa.
Participants at the e-rabies surveillance workshop in Arua, May 2nd -3rd, 2024. (Courtesy photo)

Prof. Sonja Hartnack who was in the company of CoVAB’s Terrence Odoch and Prof. Clovice Kankya said the pilot was to focus on integrated bite case management. This is the very first part which is still ongoing and there were concrete follow-up plans to try and foster this integrated bite case management. The Data to be collected was from both the point of view of the human-dog bite victim, but also captures whether the dog was vaccinated, provoked, killed, and a sample taken, all adding up in a true multi-sectoral and one health approach, she observed.

For the second work package which is about community engagement for rabies vaccination and dog bite prevention, she said there was already one Master’s student thesis submitted following both a qualitative and quantitative approach, and currently the student was finalizing the manuscript. Similarly, a paper on the Barriers to Vaccination at the community level and responsible dog ownership on the perceptions of dog owners was also written.

Participants discussed strategies for effective implementation of the intervention. College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda and the Universities of Zurich and Bern, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation, eRabies project, Rabies Exposure Assessment & Contact Tracing (REACT) App Pilot, 2nd - 3rd May 2024, Arua District, Uganda, East Africa.
Participants discussed strategies for effective implementation of the intervention.

The other studies she said, focused on the identification of one strategy through a sensitization campaign.  This would include many respects including mobilizing dog owners to bring their dogs for mass vaccination on selected days and places. Such places like Schools, she said, would enable educating the children.  The other option would be conducting mass vaccination campaigns integrated with livestock activities whereby the communities will be asked to come with their dogs close to a point in the farm or to organize jointly with the human health activities.

Participants from the implementing districts of Kyegegwa, Soroti, and Kampala where some of the interventions are ongoing. College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda and the Universities of Zurich and Bern, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation, eRabies project, Rabies Exposure Assessment & Contact Tracing (REACT) App Pilot, 2nd - 3rd May 2024, Arua District, Uganda, East Africa.
Participants from the implementing districts of Kyegegwa, Soroti, and Kampala where some of the interventions are ongoing.

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Health

The Africa One Health Network for Disease Prevention (ADAPT), Project Launch

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Participants at the ADAPT project launch event took off time for a group photo at Protea Hotel, Entebbe on Monday 12th May 2024. Consortium of Seven Sub-Saharan countries; Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Sudan and Uganda, Leipzig University Germany, 5-year intervention aimed at building the capacity of improved, sustainable, and locally–led management of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), Africa One Health Network for Disease Prevention (ADAPT), Project Launch, College of Health Sciences (CHS) and the College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB), Monday 12th May 2024, Protea Hotel, Entebbe, Uganda, East Africa.

A consortium of Seven Sub-Saharan countries is implementing a 5-year intervention aimed at building the capacity of improved, sustainable, and locally–led management of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs).

AMR is a public health problem that poses the largest threat to human health, causes death, and threatens economies especially those of developing countries in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

In Uganda, the project is implemented by Makerere University in the College of Health Sciences (CHS) and the College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB).  Prof. Dr. Damalie Nakanjako, the Principal CHS, and CoVAB’s Assoc. Prof. Julius Okuni are the Principal investigators.

The other sub-Saharan African states in the consortium include Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, and Sudan, while the other participants like Leipzig University are drawn from Germany.

At the project kickoff event held at Protea Hotel in Entebbe on Monday 12th May 2024 attended by all implementing partners, it was explained that the five-year project will investigate and sustainably develop the local capacity to identify and intervene with a diverse range of biomedical and sociocultural factors impacting human, animal, and environmental health in sub-Saharan African settings to better control AMR and NTDs.

Through a One Health Approach, the project will work with several stakeholders including Behavior scientists, Data scientists, veterinarians, Human health workers, and policymakers in developing the capacity of anti-microbial stewardship in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The project’s main tasks will include screening of AMR in humans, livestock, and poultry using surveillance and genetic mapping; investigating the relationship between helminthic infection and drug resistance bacteria to better understand the co-infection between pathogens; developing capacities for point of need diagnostics on AMR and NTDs using mobile tests for field use; identifying any changes in antimicrobial use and AMR incidences; controlling communicable disease transmission and building capacity for sustainable leadership.

Some of the participants at the kick-off event. Consortium of Seven Sub-Saharan countries; Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Sudan and Uganda, Leipzig University Germany, 5-year intervention aimed at building the capacity of improved, sustainable, and locally–led management of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), Africa One Health Network for Disease Prevention (ADAPT), Project Launch, College of Health Sciences (CHS) and the College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB), Monday 12th May 2024, Protea Hotel, Entebbe, Uganda, East Africa.
Some of the participants at the kick-off event.

The kickoff meeting was addressed by stakeholders from different sectors who made proposals aimed at ensuring a successful project implementation. Hon. Dr. Charles Ayume, the Chair of the parliamentary health committee, while addressing the forum urged the implementers to consider involving the political wings of the respective countries and to ensure that the politicians get to appreciate the concerns on Anti-Microbial Resistance and the Neglected Tropical Diseases.   He said that in the case of Uganda, the process of the formation of the Parliamentary Forum on AMR was in the initial stages and observed that several politicians were not well informed about the challenges of AMR.  He said bringing the politicians on board would help the project implementers and stakeholders lobby for financial allocations towards AMR or else refer to it as unfunded priorities because they do not appreciate its magnitude. Dr. Ayume regretted noting that although innovations were game changers, Research and development were underfunded and mostly anchored in the hands of the donors.  He said regarding the success of the project, research was important because of the need to domesticate AMR, by taking it down lower to the communities.

Hon. Dr. Charles Ayume, the Chair of the Parliamentary health committee, addressed the meeting. Seated are Prof. Damalie Nakanjako and Assoc. Prof. Julius Okuni. Consortium of Seven Sub-Saharan countries; Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Sudan and Uganda, Leipzig University Germany, 5-year intervention aimed at building the capacity of improved, sustainable, and locally–led management of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), Africa One Health Network for Disease Prevention (ADAPT), Project Launch, College of Health Sciences (CHS) and the College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB), Monday 12th May 2024, Protea Hotel, Entebbe, Uganda, East Africa.
Hon. Dr. Charles Ayume, the Chair of the Parliamentary health committee, addressed the meeting. Seated are Prof. Damalie Nakanjako and Assoc. Prof. Julius Okuni.

Dr. Ayume said he was cognizant of the fact that there was a lot to do citing the example of the poor state of abattoirs regarding lack of adherence to public health regulations, poor sanitation as well and non-adherence to public health regulations. Legislation is important because several laws like the Public Health Act although amended do not cover AMR, he observed. He cited the recently enacted Animal Feeds Bill, as one example through which the Government can be held accountable.  He expressed commitment to further spread the AMR message through the Parliamentary Committees of Health from Africa, where he is a member.  For most of the issues that affect the region, he said there was a need to get together, and that this can be a way of domestication of AMR.

The Deputy Principal, CoVAB, Assoc. Prof James Acai–Okwee welcomed the guests. Consortium of Seven Sub-Saharan countries; Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Sudan and Uganda, Leipzig University Germany, 5-year intervention aimed at building the capacity of improved, sustainable, and locally–led management of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), Africa One Health Network for Disease Prevention (ADAPT), Project Launch, College of Health Sciences (CHS) and the College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB), Monday 12th May 2024, Protea Hotel, Entebbe, Uganda, East Africa.
The Deputy Principal, CoVAB, Assoc. Prof. James Acai–Okwee welcomed the guests.

The Deputy Principal, CoVAB, Prof James Acai – Okwee who spoke on behalf of the Principal Prof. Frank Nobert Mwiine acknowledged and welcomed the partners from other countries and the German Federal Ministry of Education for the project support. He said Makerere University aspires to translate into a research-led institution including research in AMR.  He explained that there was a significant animal factor in AMR, where infection in animals will always be shared in the human population because of the extensive microbial use in animal production.  Anti-microbial use is becoming the normal practice in production and therefore 75% of the infections originate from the animals that’s why we appreciate the one health approach in addressing AMR, the environment, food production, and public health he said, while appreciating the need for a multi-sectoral approach in addressing the challenge at hand. He expressed the colleges’ commitment and readiness to work with the project team led by Assoc. Prof. Julius Okuni.

Other presenters at the meeting included a representative of the Director General of Health Services, the Ministry of Health, and the Ministry of Water and Environment, among others.

The Team visiting the labs at CEBIGH at CoVAB. Consortium of Seven Sub-Saharan countries; Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Sudan and Uganda, Leipzig University Germany, 5-year intervention aimed at building the capacity of improved, sustainable, and locally–led management of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), Africa One Health Network for Disease Prevention (ADAPT), Project Launch, College of Health Sciences (CHS) and the College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB), Visit to CEBIGH, 15th May 2024, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
The Team visiting the labs at CEBIGH at CoVAB.

Later on Wednesday 15th May 2024, the project team visited the College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources, and Biosecurity where they interacted with the leadership and staff and took a guided tour of some of the laboratories.

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Veterinary & Biosecurity

CoVAB Hosts the Roots Africa University Clubs’ Exhibition and Mentorship Engagement Discourse during which the 2023 Wakiso District Human Rights Report was launched

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Mr. Kamadi Byonabye, Director of Research, Education, and Documentation, represented the Chairperson of the Uganda Human Rights Commission Mariam Fauzat Wangadya, and signed the 2023 Wakiso District Human Rights Report. The Roots Africa University Clubs’ exhibition and mentorship engagement and launch of the Wakiso District Human Rights Report for the year 2023 hosted by The INNOVETS, 11th May 2024, College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources, and Biosecurity (CoVAB), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda.

By Harriet Musinguzi & Jacinta Nakaye

The Roots Africa University Clubs’ exhibition and mentorship engagement was held at the College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources, and Biosecurity bringing together several stakeholders that held a discourse centered around youth involvement in addressing critical issues such as poverty and hunger.

The event which also marked the launch of the Wakiso District Human Rights Report for the year 2023 was held on May 11, 2024, and was hosted by The INNOVETS which is a student-driven initiative based in the CoVAB. The initiative is dedicated to empowering students with hands-on skills, fostering critical thinking, and cultivating research expertise, as well as enabling the development of innovative ideas that have the potential to transform the livestock sector in Uganda.  

Some of the guests who attended the ceremony at CoVAB. They included Mrs. Margaret Sekaggya, a Ugandan lawyer and human rights activist (Left). The Roots Africa University Clubs’ exhibition and mentorship engagement and launch of the Wakiso District Human Rights Report for the year 2023 hosted by The INNOVETS, 11th May 2024, College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources, and Biosecurity (CoVAB), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Some of the guests who attended the ceremony at CoVAB.

The discourse convened with support from Roots Africa, a non-profit organization based in the USA, attracted the participation of several sectors including students, agriculturalists, academicians, human rights experts, policymakers, members of the Uganda Police, and business professionals. It was aimed at highlighting pressing challenges and the actions needed to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 1 and 2 – No Poverty and Zero Hunger, respectively.

Under the theme, “The right to food: Africa doesn’t need charity, it needs changemakers,” participants engaged in insightful discussions that teased out actionable solutions including entrepreneurship, leadership, and building sustainable agriculture business models.

Hon. Fred Kyakulaga Bwino, Minister of State for Agriculture awards the INNOVETS a cheque worth USD 500 upon emerging the winners after pitching for their product MAKBEE during the inter-university clubs’ product pitching competitions. The Roots Africa University Clubs’ exhibition and mentorship engagement and launch of the Wakiso District Human Rights Report for the year 2023 hosted by The INNOVETS, 11th May 2024, College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources, and Biosecurity (CoVAB), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Hon. Fred Kyakulaga Bwino, Minister of State for Agriculture awards the INNOVETS a cheque worth USD 500 upon emerging the winners after pitching for their product MAKBEE during the inter-university clubs’ product pitching competitions.

Keynote speaker, Hon. Fred Kyakulaga Bwino, The Minister of State for Agriculture, passionately advocated for commercial perennial crop agriculture, emphasizing the potential of cash crops like Coffee and high-demand food crops like vegetables. He said it was time now that the country intensify efforts towards addressing the greatest challenges faced today which he said, were associated with feeding the fast-growing global population, exacerbated by climate changes and the associated consequences such as environmental, and natural resources degradation, natural biodiversity loss all of which affect food security.

Prof. Frank Norbert Mwine Principal CoVAB made welcome remarks. The Roots Africa University Clubs’ exhibition and mentorship engagement and launch of the Wakiso District Human Rights Report for the year 2023 hosted by The INNOVETS, 11th May 2024, College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources, and Biosecurity (CoVAB), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Prof. Frank Norbert Mwine Principal CoVAB made welcome remarks.

Prof. Frank Mwine, the Principal of CoVAB, while welcoming the guests to the college highlighted the importance of mindset change in communities to ensure food safety and security,.  He urging changemakers to take proactive steps towards educating communities about their rights and for the academicians to embrace the role of the ‘university in communities.’

The ceremony was graced by Mr. Kamadi Byonabye, Director of Research, Education, and Documentation, who represented the Chairperson of the Uganda Human Rights Commission, Mariam Fauzat Wangadya. 

He shared that the agenda for human rights in Uganda has been evolving for some time. In 1995, it was streamlined both through a legal framework and an institutional framework. He reported that it was observed that the Uganda Human Rights Commission alone couldn’t promote and protect human rights everywhere in Uganda.

Participants visit the exhibition stalls at CoVAB. The Roots Africa University Clubs’ exhibition and mentorship engagement and launch of the Wakiso District Human Rights Report for the year 2023 hosted by The INNOVETS, 11th May 2024, College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources, and Biosecurity (CoVAB), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Participants visit the exhibition stalls at CoVAB.

“Promoting and protecting human rights cannot be done by a single entity, it requires several departments and agencies to achieve this,” he noted. He further reported that the Ministry of Local Government directed all districts to establish district human rights committees, and this was effected in a few districts including Wakiso. However, some districts still lack this committee because of inadequate resources.

Mr. Byonabye said the right to food, health, other social services, and human rights were cross-cutting, interdependent, and interrelated. Whereas there is a legal and institutional framework, there’s individual observation of these rights because they are violated at the individual level. Therefore, the proper application of these requires a mindset change, he observed.

Some of the judges for the inter-university pitching competition pose for a photo with the Minister of State for Agriculture, Hon. Fred Kyakulaga Bwino (3rd Left). The Roots Africa University Clubs’ exhibition and mentorship engagement and launch of the Wakiso District Human Rights Report for the year 2023 hosted by The INNOVETS, 11th May 2024, College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources, and Biosecurity (CoVAB), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Some of the judges for the inter-university pitching competition pose for a photo with the Minister of State for Agriculture, Hon. Fred Kyakulaga Bwino (3rd Left).

Notable speakers, including the Wakiso District Chairperson, Mr. Matia Lwanga Bwanika, and representatives from civil society organizations like the Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD), shared valuable insights on health rights, community engagement, and the protection of vulnerable groups. Mr. Bwanika recognized and commended the involvement of Makerere University as a key partner in advocating for human rights. “Makerere University, having hosted the event, proves that a rights-friendly environment was an initiative that academicians were also advocating for, said the Wakiso District Chairperson.

He said several districts were still lagging in establishing human rights committees due to demands for facilitation and commended the voluntary service rendered by the team that put together the 2023 Human Rights Situation report for Wakiso.

The Deputy Executive Director- Programmes at The Centre for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD), Noor Nakibuuka Musisi, reported about the health rights situation in some parts of Wakiso. She petitioned policymakers to extend services to rural areas, citing Bussi Island as one of the areas with no health facilities which was a key challenge for expecting women. 

The Wakiso District Human Rights Committee Chairperson, Mr. Elly Kasirye also gave an address, affirming that human rights realization is achievable when structures are established while engaging people at the grassroots. 

The Wakiso District Human Rights Committee Chairperson, Mr. Elly Kasirye (2nd left) moderated the panel discussion on the human rights situation in Africa. The Roots Africa University Clubs’ exhibition and mentorship engagement and launch of the Wakiso District Human Rights Report for the year 2023 hosted by The INNOVETS, 11th May 2024, College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources, and Biosecurity (CoVAB), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
The Wakiso District Human Rights Committee Chairperson, Mr. Elly Kasirye (2nd left) moderated the panel discussion on the human rights situation in Africa.

The event also involved panel discussions where several concerns were shared. Participants brainstormed ideas on the promotion and protection of human rights, which focused on community engagements, paying attention to rights for children with disability, issues concerning human settlement in wetlands which also affects human rights through causing floods, triggering questions on health and food security, and the need to build networks of powerful organizations, people, social movements as a notable solution to address these challenges. 

What is Roots Africa?

Founded by Mr. Cedric Nwafor, Roots Africa is a non-profit organization registered in the USA dedicated to combating hunger and poverty in Africa through innovative academic partnerships, bridging the gaps between academic institutions and experts in the United States. In Uganda, Roots Africa is working with students’ clubs from Makerere University (INNOVETS-CoVAB), Gulu University, Bukalasa Agricultural College, Uganda Christian University, Uganda Martyrs University Nkozi, Bishop Stuart University, and Mountains of the Moon University. 

Who are the INNOVETS? 

The INNOVETS is a student-driven initiative based in the CoVAB. It is dedicated to empowering students with hands-on skills, fostering research expertise, and enabling the development of innovative ideas that have the potential to transform the livestock sector in Uganda.

The INNOVETS celebrate emerging winners after pitching for their product MAKBEE during the interuniversity clubs’ product pitching competition, which was one of the key activities during the event. The Roots Africa University Clubs’ exhibition and mentorship engagement and launch of the Wakiso District Human Rights Report for the year 2023 hosted by The INNOVETS, 11th May 2024, College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources, and Biosecurity (CoVAB), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
The INNOVETS celebrate emerging winners after pitching for their product MAKBEE during the interuniversity clubs’ product pitching competition, which was one of the key activities during the event.

Some of the farmers who attended the ceremony gave insightful contributions during the discourse. The Roots Africa University Clubs’ exhibition and mentorship engagement and launch of the Wakiso District Human Rights Report for the year 2023 hosted by The INNOVETS, 11th May 2024, College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources, and Biosecurity (CoVAB), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Some of the farmers who attended the ceremony gave insightful contributions during the discourse.

Representatives from government institutions, non-profit organizations, civil society organizations, and academia pose for a photo after launching the Wakiso District Human Rights Report for the year 2023 at CoVAB. The Roots Africa University Clubs’ exhibition and mentorship engagement and launch of the Wakiso District Human Rights Report for the year 2023 hosted by The INNOVETS, 11th May 2024, College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources, and Biosecurity (CoVAB), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Representatives from government institutions, non-profit organizations, civil society organizations, and academia pose for a photo after launching the Wakiso District Human Rights Report for the year 2023 at CoVAB.

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