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Home News Farmers To Pay For FMD Vaccination

Farmers To Pay For FMD Vaccination

by Jacquiline Nakandi
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By Julius Luwemba

The agriculture ministry has announced plans for farmers to pay for the mandatory vaccination of livestock against Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD).

State minister for animal industry Lt. Col. Bright Rwamirama made the remarks while dispatching a consignment of 900,000 doses of FMD vaccine.

The first batch of FMD vaccine was dispatched last week to 23 affected districts at the National Animal Disease Diagnostics and Epidemiology Centre (NADDEC) in Entebbe.

Rwamirama noted that, with effect from next month, the Government has decided to change the policy of the FMD vaccine from being free and compulsory to being compulsory, but at the farmers’ cost.

“The cost of the vaccine will be borne by the farmer, while the cost of administration and the services will be borne by the Government. This means we shall vaccinate any susceptible animal twice a year and we remain optimistic that it will mark the end of FMD in this country,” Rwamirama said.

Maj. Gen. (Rtd) David Kasura Kyomukama, the agriculture ministry permanent secretary, said the cost of vaccines will not exceed sh8,000 ($2) to be met by the farmer, whereas the Government will cater for other services in the vaccination process, such as paying for cold chain, transportation and veterinary officers.

“We hope that if the vaccination is done consecutively in two years, we shall have blocked transmission and also created hard immunity among the livestock,” Kyomukama said.

He also revealed that the Government is in the advanced stages of manufacturing FMD vaccines.

First consignment

The first consignment, which was handed over to chief administrative officers and district veterinary officers, was part of the 9.8 million doses procured by the Government.

The vaccines were procured from Boehringer Ingelheim in Germany, while others are to be obtained from Egypt, Kenya and Botswana.

The next consignment is expected in Uganda this week, whereas the last batch will be delivered on June 15.

Rwamirama noted that the first districts were selected based on high infection rates, high-risk areas and transit areas.

“So, for this first phase, we have targeted districts along the Tanzania-Uganda border, such as Kyotera, Rakai, Isingiro, and Ntungamo. Others are Kiruhura, Lyantonde, Mbarara, Kazo, Lwengo and Sembabule, which border the game parks,” he said.

Dr James Kakungulu, the assistant commissioner for animal health, said 40 districts across the country have reported FMD outbreaks since October last year.

“We had managed to live for almost a full year without any FMD outbreaks because of the vaccinations we did in late 2022. We had taken a risk-based vaccination with 2.5 million doses of the FMD vaccine, which had kept us safe for some time, but the FMD immunity lasts only six months. Therefore, if we had vaccinated again around June last year, we would have avoided this challenge,” Kakungulu explained.

Dr Andrew Akashaba, the president of the Uganda Veterinary Association, noted that less funding for the vaccination exercise remains a challenge.

He called on livestock farmers to desist from grazing animals within the confines of national parks, saying diseases can easily spread from wildlife to domestic livestock.

Frank Tumwebaze, the agriculture minister, emphasised that private firms and individuals are not allowed to import FMD vaccines.

“All FMD vaccines that we know of in the country are imported through the agriculture ministry and, therefore, anyone who claims to be importing or selling the vaccine must be arrested and charged accordingly,” Tumwebaze warned.

He explained said there are different strains of foot and mouth disease.

“If private firms and individuals are allowed to import the vaccine, they will more likely import vaccines that do not suit our strains, hence exacerbating the problem,” Tumwebaze explained.

Yesterday’s (Monday, May 13) consignment was dispatched with 260 refrigerators and freezers to all the districts for purposes of storing the vaccines at the recommended temperatures for them to remain effective, until they are inoculated into the animals.

LEAD PHOTO CAPTION: Tumwebaze (centre), ministry offi cials, MPs and district veterinary officers receiving the first batch of FMD Vaccine at NADEC offices, last week. Photo by Julius Luwemba

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