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Veterinary & Biosecurity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Research, Innovation and Outreach.

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

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

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

Improved Laboratory infrastructure

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

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

Electronic Rabies Surveillance using a One Health Approach

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

The Norbrook Veterinary Academic Excellence Award 2024

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

Appreciation of Government Support

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

A Word to the Graduands

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

The Awards

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

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Veterinary & Biosecurity

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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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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