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Veterinary & Biosecurity

Career Guidance session for finalist students held at CoVAB

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Further, he clarified the difference between the two programs Bachelor of Bachelor of Animal Production Technology and Management (BAPT) and Bachelor of Industrial Livestock and Business (BILB) saying that the products of BILB were expected to be entrepreneurs, investors, job creators, business owners or business creators with an aim of wealth creation along livestock value chain while BAPT products were expected to be scientists, reaserchers, technologists, managers and extensionists.

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

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

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

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

Veterinary & Biosecurity

CoVAB Annual Report 2023

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The Principal CoVAB, Prof. Frank Norbert Mwiine. College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

It is my pleasure to share the Annual Report for the year 2023, which highlights various milestones realized in the College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources, and Biosecurity. First and foremost, I wish to congratulate all of us for the input rendered in the running of the college during the period, which effort made us score in several areas as prescribed by the mandate of the college and Makerere University as a whole.

Our mandate is teaching and learning, research and innovation, as well as knowledge transfer and partnerships. As you will realize in this report, this task has been handled meticulously through a concerted effort by all stakeholders, the students, the teaching, and the administrative staff and partners. The college takes pride in the contribution made by our partners who continue to support us in the delivery of the mandate in varied ways, such as Norbrook (U) Ltd, which since 2021 has continued to prize the best performing Veterinary students with cash prizes every year.

The College continues to excel in research and community outreach as evidenced by the increased research output in several Biomedical and Applied research projects with support from the Government of Uganda and our development partners which for instance resulted in the establishment of a Biomarker discovery and translation research laboratory at COVAB. Equipment was procured 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. The platform supports drug target discovery and elucidation of drug action mechanisms.

The college hosts a Central Laboratory Animal Research Facility that support pre-clinical studies in animal models for vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics, 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.

This and other efforts strategically place CoVAB and Makerere at large in a position to confront major animal and even human health challenges as significant proportions of emerging and reemerging infectious diseases are of animal origin (Zoonotic).

We are looking forward to an even more successful period ahead of us, and together definitely we shall achieve all we set out to do.

Prof. Frank Nobert Mwiine
PRINCIPAL

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Veterinary & Biosecurity

The 2024 Summer School and the International Cultural Boma and AFROHUN Showcase at CoVAB

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Participants follow proceedings. The 2024 Summer School and the International Cultural Boma and AFROHUN Showcase, June 20th, 2024, Ruth Keesling Centre, College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources, and Biosecurity (CoVAB), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

The 2024 Summer School and the International Cultural Boma and AFROHUN Showcase was held on June 20th, 2024, at the Ruth Keeslings Centre, College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources, and Biosecurity, and for the first time involved CoVAB students.

The Boma was the final event of this year’s CoVAB-Mississippi State University’s (MSU) Tropical Veterinary Medicine and One Health Study Abroad program which started on May 31, 2024. The study abroad course focuses on animal production and health management, conservation medicine, aquatic health, wildlife health, public health, food safety, and security, as well as inculcating One Health principles while suffusing multicultural experiences.

During the presentations, the participants expressed what they enjoyed most while on the program and this included observing the human-wildlife interactions, working on wildlife and the identified difference between the US and Uganda, the animal welfare champion, as well as having Ugandan students included on the program.

Prof. Frank Nobert Mwiine, CoVAB Principal (C) Dr. Sarah Nalule, HoD WAAR (L) and Dr. David Kahwa Lecturer WAAR (R). The 2024 Summer School and the International Cultural Boma and AFROHUN Showcase, June 20th, 2024, Ruth Keesling Centre, College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources, and Biosecurity (CoVAB), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Prof. Frank Nobert Mwiine, CoVAB Principal (C) Dr. Sarah Nalule, HoD WAAR (L) and Dr. David Kahwa Lecturer WAAR (R).

The Principal, Prof. Frank Nobert Mwiine officiated at the event characterized by sharing the student’s experiences through presentations made before academicians, researchers, and students.  In his remarks, he said the Boma was a great avenue for sharing information and learning from each other drawing from the experiences of the students while out in the community and the wild. Prof. Mwiine commended Mississippi State University for the long relationship they have had with CoVAB and appreciated the inclusion of the Uganda students into the program. He expressed optimism that the summer school will grow into problem-solving partnerships in research, training, and community development.

During the three weeks excursions in Uganda, participating students from Mississippi State University together with their counterparts from CoVAB engaged in experiential field trips with hands-on experience at the interfaces between animals, humans, and the environment.

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

Participants pose for a group picture in front of the Centre for Global Health, CoVAB. The 2024 Summer School and the International Cultural Boma and AFROHUN Showcase, June 20th, 2024, Ruth Keesling Centre, College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources, and Biosecurity (CoVAB), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Participants pose for a group picture in front of the Centre for Global Health, CoVAB.

Dr. Celsus Sente the Summer School coordinator and lecturer in the Department of Wildlife and Aquatic Resources (WAAR) said the three-week expedition was a great field experiential learning opportunity using one health approach.  Students went to different places including Gaba Fish Landing Site, the Murchison conservation area, Mbarara Abattoir where they interacted with the meat inspectors, Kibaale conservation area where they observed wildlife practical activities like birds, undertook activities involving cattle, and goats as well as the feel of the interface between the environment, humans, and animal health, the one health approach at the fishing villages there.

A team makes a presentation at the Boma. The 2024 Summer School and the International Cultural Boma and AFROHUN Showcase, June 20th, 2024, Ruth Keesling Centre, College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources, and Biosecurity (CoVAB), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
A team makes a presentation at the Boma.

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

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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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