06 August 2015 - Following the massive outbreaks of Foot-and-Mouth disease (FMD) in Uganda in mid-2014 and the subsequent recommendations of the FAO Crisis Management Centre (CMC) Mission to Uganda, a Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) project was jointly developed by FAO-Uganda and the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF). The project activities aimed at containing the outbreaks and facilitate risk analysis and characterization of viruses in different parts of the country as well as fostering strategic transition along the road map for FMD progressive control pathway (PCP).
As part of this FAO funded TCP, an inception workshop was held in Mukono near Kampala, July 13 to 14, 2015, followed by an extensive training facilitated by FAO. The United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) funded the FMD recognition training in Mbale, July 15 to 17.
Both the inception and the training workshops gathered over 100 participants including Community Animal Health workers, Senior Officials including the MAAIF, Regional Senior Veterinary Inspectors, Regional Laboratory Focal Persons, District Laboratory Focal Persons, District Veterinary Officers for Karamoja, selected staff of the National Animal Disease Diagnostics and Epidemiology Centre (NADDEC), National Livestock Resources Research Institute (NALIRRI), College of Veterinary Medicine Animal Resources and Biosecurity (COVAB) – Makerere University and Uganda Veterinary Association (UVA) and senior staff from FAO Uganda and FAO Headquarters.
During the first two days, the participants attended in Mukono, the inception workshop to plan for immediate outbreak containment and risk-based strategy for progressive control of Foot-and-Mouth disease in Uganda. First, they presented the current FMD situation and the FMD global strategy, with emphasis on the progressive control pathway. Then, the participants drafted a document to upgrade the National FMD Control Strategy (2012) to the risk-based strategy for progressive control of the disease, which is a precondition for Uganda to progress to stage 2 along the PCP for FMD. The team discussed modalities of setting up five regional laboratories to spearhead control of Foot-and-Mouth disease in Mbale, Arua, Mbarara, Kabarole, Masaka and Lira. The regional laboratories will facilitate timely disease surveillance, sample collection and disease reporting.
Overall, the discussions raised the issue of the difficulties in vaccine procurements and the implementation of the project, given the current FMD epidemiological situation. The necessity to control animal movements and to involve different stakeholders was also highlighted.
Following the workshop, participants went on a 3 days field-trip to Mbale and to several villages to be trained on FMD recognition, reporting Transboundary Animal Diseases (TADs) and on various methods for sample collection, storage, shipping, lab processing and diagnosis.
During the field trip to several communities participants practiced in addition to sample collection also basic methods of participatory epidemiology where several animal owners were interviewed and were asked to categorize the importance of several TADs , including FMD, using 100 beans. Farmers were also asked to draw a general map of the village area in order to better understand risk factor for the introduction of FMD particularly through animal and human movement.
Both events contribute to the dissemination of the final FMD strategic document by December, 2015. The aim of its implementation is to confirm Uganda as a non-FMD endemic status country (stage 4) along the PCP by 2024.