Kampala, Uganda | A Commissioner in the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries has revealed that most veterinary officers in Uganda are administering treatment without proper diagnosis of animal diseases.
Dr. Anna Rose Ademun Okurut, who is in-charge of animal health says that many veterinary officers tend to work like witch doctors rather than professionals by treating animals without proper investigations of the causes of diseases in animals and environment where they live.
Ademun adds that lack of proper investigations by veterinary officers is partly the reason why infectious diseases have now crossed from animals to human beings.
She says that Ministry of Agriculture has tried to address some gaps including equipping the 13 regional laboratories to enable veterinary officers conduct proper diagnosis to control animal diseases but these are not yet enough.
Martha Mukisa, the Animal Husbandry Officer for Kalungu district admitted the challenge saying that it’s difficult for them to conduct proper diagnosis on animals over long distances from farmers to regional laboratories.
Mukisa adds that even when samples are taken, they need close to three months to receive results and in the process the farmers resort to conduct their own treatment which leads to animal resistance to drugs.
Dr. Aloysious Lumbuye, the Luweero District Veterinary Officer says that apart from lack of tools and skills to collect samples, the veterinary officers also lack transport to reach to farmers.
Lumbuye says that Luwero district has no government laboratory and they need to transfer samples to the regional laboratory in Nakaseke district.
Antonio Querido, the country representative of Food and Agriculture Organization Uganda says that due to poor surveillance, 75% human diseases originate from animals across the globe and Uganda is now the hotspot for many of these diseases.
Querido adds that as a result, FAO Uganda and Ministry of Agriculture have embarked on training 20 veterinary officers from districts to strengthen their ability to predict, prepare, respond to critical health threats affecting animals.
Atleast 20 veterinary officers from different districts will spend a month at Luweero Diocese guest house in Luweero where they will be trained in applied veterinary epidemiology.