Uganda


The world’s largest publicly-funded agricultural research partnership, CGIAR, is currently developing a series of initiatives to implement its 2030 research and innovation strategy that was launched in early 2021.

The research initiatives are designed to create lasting impact in five key areas:

  • nutrition, health and food security;
  • poverty reduction, livelihoods and jobs;
  • gender equality, youth and social inclusion;
  • climate adaptation and mitigation; and
  • environmental health and biodiversity.

One of these research initiatives, Protecting human health through a One Health approach, aims to improve the prevention and control of antimicrobial resistance, foodborne diseases and zoonoses in seven target countries: Bangladesh, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, India, Kenya, Uganda and Vietnam.

The development of the One Health initiative is being led by a team of scientists from four CGIAR research centres — the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and WorldFish — in collaboration with external research partners from Centre Suisse de Recherches Scientifiques en Côte d’Ivoire, EcoHealth Alliance and the University of Liverpool.

To ensure alignment of the proposed initiative with national priorities, the team convened a series of online consultative meetings with research collaborators to gain insights on the main One Health priorities, challenges, interventions and partner organizations in the respective countries.

The Uganda meeting, hosted by ILRI, took place on Wednesday 4 August 2021, bringing together some 20 participants from the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries as well as research organizations.

Dieter Schillinger, ILRI’s deputy director general for biosciences research and development, opened the meeting with a word of welcome and an overview of CGIAR’s 2030 research and innovation strategy that will guide the implementation of the 33 new research initiatives, including that on One Health—the focus of the online consultation.

He mentioned that the development of the One Health research initiative is a collaborative process and ILRI is working closely with other CGIAR research centres as well as external partners from research and academia, including those represented at the meeting. He highlighted the ongoing Boosting Uganda’s Investment in Livestock Development (BUILD) project as an example of ILRI’s research collaboration with partners in Uganda. He therefore welcomed feedback and suggestions from the participants to ensure the research of the One Health initiative is relevant and impactful.

Hung Nguyen, co-leader of ILRI’s Animal and Human Health program, followed with an overview of the rationale of the One Health initiative, citing the need for a One Health approach to tackle the complexity of the global public health challenges posed by the rising incidence of antimicrobial resistance, foodborne diseases and zoonoses.

He then outlined the three main objectives of the One Health initiative, namely, to generate evidence for decision-making; evaluate impacts of One Health approaches; and scale up innovations into national policies and programs.

He further highlighted the initiative’s Theory of Change, explaining how the research outputs are expected to lead to specific development outcomes and impact by 2030, in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The team estimates that between 4 million and 41 million cases of disease will be averted annually through the initiative’s efforts.

The initiative’s research activities will take place through five work packages:

  • zoonoses;
  • food safety;
  • antimicrobial resistance;
  • environment (water and wildlife interfaces); and
  • economics, governance and behaviour.

The work package leaders presented briefly on the goals of their respective work packages, giving examples of planned innovations under each.

Bernard Bett, ILRI senior scientist and head of the ILRI-hosted One Health Centre in Africa, outlined the two main objectives of the zoonoses work package: pre-empting the spread of zoonoses at the wildlife–livestock interface and reducing the incidence of zoonotic pathogens associated with poverty. Among other innovations, the work package plans to map the risk of key endemic zoonoses and develop diagnostic kits for surveillance of zoonoses.

Hung Nguyen explained that the food safety work package aims to reduce the burden of foodborne disease in traditional (informal) food value chains, with a focus on animal-source foods and other perishables such as fruits and vegetables. Planned innovations include training and certification of food handlers and traders, promotion of consumer demand for safe food, and behavioural nudges to encourage safe food handling practices.

He further gave an overview of the antimicrobial resistance work package which will focus on reducing the burden of antimicrobial resistance by promoting the prudent use of antimicrobials in crop, fish and livestock production systems. In this regard, surveillance of antimicrobial use and antimicrobial resistance in animals and animal-source foods is important. Additionally, there is a need to generate and communicate evidence on the costs and benefits of rational use of antimicrobials to support uptake of interventions by farmers and policymakers.

In his overview of the environment work package, Javier Mateo-Sagasta, senior researcher at IWMI, noted that water is a key connector between people, livestock and ecosystems and so the focus will be on improving land use and water management to reduce health risks such as antimicrobial residues and zoonotic pathogens. Approaches will include recovery and reuse of animal waste to prevent water pollution and promotion of good practices to ensure the safe use of marginal quality water.

Vivian Hoffmann, senior research fellow at IFPRI, explained that the goal of the economics, governance and behaviour work package is to understand the drivers of people’s behaviour within food systems and the impact of policies and governance approaches on this behaviour. An example of an innovation under this work package is a performance management system for government officials responsible for implementing surveillance and enforcing regulations on antimicrobial use or food safety. Another innovation is a system to ensure inclusion of small-scale farmers, traders, food vendors and vulnerable groups so that they benefit from One Health outcomes.

During parallel group discussions on the zoonoses, food safety and antimicrobial resistance work packages, the participants gave feedback on the main One Health challenges, priority interventions, actions to ensure inclusion and partner institutions in Uganda.

With regard to control of zoonoses, the implementation of policies and regulations was identified as a key challenge. Outdated legislation and lack of adequate funding were also mentioned as important constraints. Community sensitization and increased awareness of zoonotic diseases are among the priority interventions that were identified.

The lack of adequate capacity for sampling, surveillance and laboratory testing was identified as a key challenge to effective management of food safety in the country. There is also low enforcement of existing food safety policies and regulations. There is a need for evidence on the burden of foodborne disease in the country. In addition, the food safety regulatory framework should be reviewed.

The lack of data on the risks of antimicrobial resistance in the country was identified as a major gap. In addition, there is weak enforcement of regulations to tackle antimicrobial resistance.

Gender value chain analysis and policy support for disadvantaged groups were suggested as some of the ways of ensuring inclusion of farmers, traders, women and youth. In addition, training modules should be gender-sensitive and appropriately packaged according to the literacy levels of the target audiences.

The identified partner groups to work with included government ministries of agriculture, health, water and environment; national and international research organizations; bureau of standards; government and private food safety laboratories; farmer groups; women’s groups and veterinary pharmaceutical companies.

As the meeting ended, Juliet Sentumbwe, director of animal resources at the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, thanked the participants for their active contributions. She observed that the focal areas of the One Health initiative are very pertinent for Uganda and well aligned with the country’s national action plan for health security through which various One Health activities are being implemented.

She also noted the importance of multi-stakeholder approaches to ensure inclusion of all groups. A One Health coordinating office will be useful in this regard.

‘We need to put in place structures that will bring all the stakeholders together,’ she advised.

She welcomed the opportunity to partner with CGIAR in the development and implementation of the One Health initiative and assured the team of the continued support of partners in Uganda.

In his closing remarks, Ben Lukuyu, ILRI’s country representative in Uganda, thanked everyone for attending and participating actively in the discussions. He particularly acknowledged the support of the Ministry of Agriculture and looked forward to further collaboration with One Health partners in Uganda towards improved human, animal and environment health.

Once approved, the CGIAR One Health initiative will start in January 2022 and run for an initial three years.

For more information, please contact Hung Nguyen (h.nguyen@cgiar.org) or Vivian Hoffmann (v.hoffmann@cgiar.org).

Access the meeting notes and presentation slides

Citation

ILRI, IFPRI, IWMI and WorldFish. 2021. Uganda stakeholder consultation on a proposed CGIAR One Health initiative. Nairobi, Kenya: ILRI. https://hdl.handle.net/10568/114651

Photo credit: Feeding fish at Shalom Fish Farm, Kampala, Uganda (WorldFish/Jens Peter Tang Dalsgaard)

Pastoralism

A gender-inclusive approach to community livestock vaccination can help address the different barriers faced by men and women farmers and may increase the uptake of livestock vaccines

Scientists at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) recently published a study on the uptake of the Rift Valley fever vaccine in Kenya and Uganda, incorporating gender in their analysis to better understand the different barriers that men and women farmers face in adopting and using livestock vaccines.

The barriers include the cost of vaccines, long distances to vaccination points, lack of information on vaccination campaigns and decision-making processes at the household level. Understanding these barriers can help veterinary workers design more effective community livestock vaccination programs of benefit to both men and women farmers.

‘Conducting gender analysis on livestock vaccine interventions can enable implementers to identify generic and gender-specific needs of their target beneficiaries’, says Edna Mutua, the lead author of the study and gender consultant at ILRI.

‘This will allow the use of the findings to inform the design and delivery of vaccination interventions to increase efficiency and uptake’, she adds.

Rift Valley fever is a viral, mosquito-borne zoonotic disease that affects cattle, sheep, goats and camels. It causes abortions in livestock and flu-like illness in humans. People can get infected through contact with secretions or tissue of infected animals.

Rift Valley fever is endemic in East Africa and its impacts are significant. An outbreak of the disease in Kenya in 2006–07 caused 150 human deaths and led to losses of USD 32 million from livestock deaths, reduced animal productivity and trade bans on livestock and livestock products.

Vaccination of livestock is currently the most effective measure to control the disease. Previous research on Rift Valley fever vaccines have tended to focus on the production, safety and efficacy of the vaccines. Very few studies have been carried out on the uptake and adoption of livestock vaccines and most of these did not include gender in the study design and analysis but treated male and female livestock farmers as a homogeneous group.

This new ILRI-led study, published in the journal Vaccines (August 2019), provides useful insights into how prevailing gender dynamics in communities such as the division of roles and responsibilities in farmers’ households can influence the uptake and adoption of livestock vaccines.

Uptake was defined as the process the farmers take from when they receive livestock vaccination information to consenting to have their animals vaccinated and presenting the animals for vaccination. Adoption was defined as the continuous use of the vaccine when needed, even without the intervention of veterinary departments.

The study was carried out in Kwale and Murang’a counties in Kenya and Arua and Ibanda districts in Uganda. Data were collected through 58 focus group discussions (30 in Kenya and 28 in Uganda), with 8–12 discussants per group, selected based on whether or not livestock were vaccinated during recent outbreaks of Rift Valley fever.

To incorporate gender into the study design, in each country, half of the focus groups comprised men only and the other half women only. This gender disaggregation enabled the research team to collect data from the different gender groups across all four study locations.

The researchers found that men and women farmers faced different barriers in accessing and using livestock vaccines and that these constraints were influenced by socio-cultural and economic contexts and location.

For all focus groups across the four locations, the farmers ranked the top three barriers to the uptake of livestock vaccines as the cost of vaccines, limited access to information on vaccination and the side effects of the vaccines. However, including the gender and locational differences in the analysis brought forth a clearer picture of which group was most affected by which constraint.

Women in one region, for example, cited the cost of vaccines as the key challenge while women in another cited the limited information available on vaccination campaigns. In one region, the cultural dynamics around livestock ownership were paramount; in another, the long distances the women had to walk their animals to access the vaccination points was key.

The general lesson, however, was the same: ‘Provision of livestock vaccines by veterinary departments does not always guarantee uptake by men and women farmers’, lead author Edna Mutua notes.

Mutua is optimistic that veterinary authorities in Kenya and Uganda will use the research findings to design more effective community vaccination campaigns to prevent and control Rift Valley fever.

‘My hope is that this study serves as an eye-opener to veterinary departments in Kenya and Uganda on the need to integrate gender analysis into their livestock vaccine programs’, she says. ‘Optimizing vaccine uptake requires us to have a better understanding of the local contexts and constraints within which male and female farmers operate’.

This article by Tezira Lore was first published in the ILRI 2019 Annual Report.

Photo credit: A herder with his livestock in Isiolo County, Kenya (ILRI/Dorine Odongo)

The design of strategies for uptake of livestock vaccines by communities in East Africa should take into account that male and female farmers face different barriers in the uptake of the vaccines, a new research study says.

These barriers include the cost of the vaccines, distances to vaccination points, access to information on vaccination campaigns and decision-making processes at household level. Some constraints affect both men and women while others affect one gender group only, based on prevailing gender norms and division of labour.

The study, published in the journal Vaccines (8 Aug 2019), was undertaken by a team of scientists from the International Livestock Research Institute, Uganda’s Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries and the United States Agency for International Development Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance.

The work was carried out in purposively selected sites, namely, Kwale and Murang’a counties in Kenya and Arua and Ibanda districts in Uganda. The sites in Kenya were selected because livestock there had recently been vaccinated against Rift Valley fever while the sites in Uganda were chosen because they had experienced recent outbreaks of the disease but no vaccination was carried out. Data were collected through 58 focus group discussions (30 in Kenya and 28 in Uganda), with 8–12 discussants per group.

The researchers found that women in Kwale experienced more difficulties than their male counterparts in accessing information on vaccination campaigns while women in Ibanda had limited decision-making capacity over the management and control of livestock diseases because of culturally defined livestock ownership patterns. 

The cost of vaccines was a greater barrier for men than for women because the role of managing and controlling livestock diseases in these communities was culturally ascribed to men.

To be effective, therefore, livestock vaccination campaigns need to consider the socio-cultural gender dynamics that exist at household and community level. It is not enough to merely provide vaccines to the community during mass campaigns.

“Availability of vaccines does not guarantee uptake at community level due to social, spatial, economic and vaccine safety and efficacy barriers faced by men and women farmers,” the researchers note.

They add, “Vaccine uptake is a complex process which requires buy-in from men and women farmers, veterinary departments, county/district governments, national governments and vaccine producers”.

Citation

Mutua, E., Haan, N. de, Tumusiime, D., Jost, C. and Bett, B. 2019. A qualitative study on gendered barriers to livestock vaccine uptake in Kenya and Uganda and their implications on Rift Valley fever control. Vaccines 7(3): 86.

Photo credit: A herder with his livestock in Isiolo County, Kenya (ILRI/Dorine Odongo)

Cross-bred Pigs in Kiboga District, Uganda

Cross-bred Pigs in Kiboga District, Uganda (photo credit: ILRI/Kristina Roesel).

Today is International One Health Day, an occasion celebrated around the world every year on 3 November to bring global attention to the need for One Health interactions and for the world to ‘see them in action’.

To mark this day, we highlight a new discussion paper published by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) that contributes towards a greater understanding of One Health from a largely overlooked social science perspective.

The report provides a summary of research conducted in 2016 in the peri-urban to urban pig value chain between Mukono District and Kampala in Uganda’s central region. Its focus is the zoonotic parasite Taenia solium, also referred to as the pork tapeworm, and cysticercosis, an infection with the larvae of T. solium. It highlights perceptions of T. solium and other pathogens associated with pigs as articulated by farmers, butchers, slaughterhouse workers, pork consumers and medical professionals.

Download the report, Pigs, people, pathogens: A qualitative analysis of the pig value chain in the central region of Uganda by Rebekah Thompson.

Safe Food, Fair Food

Plate served with fried pork Serving of fried pork and raw relishes in a pork joint in Kampala, Uganda (photo credit: ILRI/Martin Heilmann).

Research findings from the Safe Food, Fair Food project were presented at the first joint international conference of the Association of Institutions for Tropical Veterinary Medicine (AITVM) and the Society of Tropical Veterinary Medicine (STVM) which was held in Berlin, Germany on 4–8 September 2016.

AITVM is a foundation of 24 veterinary faculties and livestock institutes based in Africa, Asia and Europe with the mandate to improve human health and quality of life by means of increased and safe food production in tropical regions through enhancement of research, training and education in veterinary medicine and livestock production within the framework of sustainable development.

STVM is made up of scientists, veterinarians and students from more than 40 countries with common interests in tropical veterinary medicine. It is a non-profit organization whose purpose is…

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This week’s (4-8 September 2016) first joint international conference of the Association of Institutions for Tropical Veterinary Medicine and the Society of Tropical Veterinary Medicine featured a presentation on results on a survey of Taenia solium cysticercosis risk factors, perceptions and practices in smallholder pig production systems in Uganda.

Scientists from the National Livestock Research Resources Institute (Uganda), Makerere University and the International Livestock Research Institute conducted the survey in 1096 households in the rural and urban pig production systems in districts of Masaka, Mukono and Kamuli.

The study found that 63% of interviewed farmers were aware about taeniosis but less than 1% were able to make the link between taeniosis and cysticercosis in people and pigs.

Most farmers (94%) dewormed their pigs and 55% had clean water near the latrines designated for washing hands. Of these, 41.9% used water with soap to wash hands after latrine use.

The findings of the study point to a need to raise awareness among the pig farmers on the transmission cycle of pig-borne diseases like taeniosis and Taenia solium cysticercosis to help improve smallholder pig production and management.

Edited by Tezira Lore

Local breed sow and piglets on a farm in Masaka district, Uganda

Local breed sow and piglets on a farm in Masaka district, Uganda (photo credit: ILRI/Eliza Smith).

Zoonotic diseases are most dangerous when they take animal and human health workers by surprise, giving the public and disease control officials no advance warning or time to put prevention measures in place. The recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa illustrates the adverse consequences of trying to tackle a disease outbreak too late and with little information.

Ebola is a serious but mysterious disease; in Uganda, there is little solid information on the reservoir and transmission of Ebola. However, research findings in the last few decades have given rise to speculation that there could be associations between pigs and Ebola.

Currently, there is no evidence that pigs have had any role in past outbreaks of Ebola virus disease. But given the huge importance of pigs to the Ugandan economy, diet and livelihoods, it is important to investigate any potential links sooner rather than later.

A recent study by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) argues there are several factors that support the potential role of pigs in the transmission of Ebola to humans in Uganda. It is critical that this hypothesis be investigated in order to understand the risks to the country’s burgeoning pig production industry.

A spatial representation of potential risk factors for zoonotic transmission involving pigs in Uganda could be used to initiate further investigations into Ebola and other zoonotic diseases known to affect pigs in Uganda.

The researchers call for a One Health approach to the continued research. The benefit of this multidisciplinary approach is that limited resources can be utilized efficiently to improve the health and livelihoods of Ugandans through enhanced food safety and security, and the preservation of important ecosystem services, such as those provided by bats and other wildlife.

Clear and consistent risk communication from all research partners will be of utmost importance in preventing hysteria and delivering good outcomes for wildlife conservation and livelihoods.

Download the policy brief, One Health approach recommended in investigating and communicating the potential role of pigs in transmitting Ebola in Uganda written by Eliza Smith of KYEEMA Foundation and Christine Atherstone and Delia Grace of ILRI.

ILRI news

High-risk areas in Uganda for possible/potential pig transmission of Ebola

The map above shows high-risk areas due to a spatial overlap of three proposed risk factors for zoonotic Ebola virus transmission in Uganda: modelled zoonotic niche, domestic pig distribution and high numbers of people living in extreme poverty; the map is taken from a paper published in Transboundary and Emerging Diseases, Assessing the potential role of pigs in the epidemiology of Ebola virus in Uganda, by C Atherstone, E Smith, P Ochungo, K Roesel, D Grace, 27 August 2015 (figure credit: ILRI).

This article is written by two of this paper’s authors: Christine Atherstone, an ILRI researcher based in Uganda who leads this work and is lead author, and Delia Grace, who leads ILRI’s Food Safety and Zoonoses research program.

A new risk assessment paper, Assessing the potential role of pigs in the epidemiology of the Ebola virus in Uganda, was published in the science journal

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CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish

Pig feed trials - diet formulationPig feed trials _ animal weighing
Research assistants chopping jackfruit (left) and weighing a feed trial pig (right) at Kamuzinda Farm, Uganda (photo credit: ILRI/Natalie Carter).

Pig production in Uganda is on the rise. The number of pigs in the country stood at 3.2 million in 2011 (based on a livestock census) from about 200,000 thirty years ago. A rise in the country’s population and incomes has triggered an upsurge in pork consumption. The per capita pork consumption of Uganda was 3.4 kg per person per annum in 2011, the highest in the East Africa region. Most of the pork consumed in the country is supplied by smallholder producers in over 1 million households, with women playing a central role in pig farming.

These figures, however, disguise challenges in the sector including diseases and parasites, unreliable markets, inadequate extension services and most importantly, poor quality and unavailability of pig feeds.

A 2013 value chain assessment conducted by the International…

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ILRI scientist Silvia Alonso presents at the 6th All Africa Conference on Animal Agriculture

ILRI scientist Silvia Alonso presents at the 6th All Africa Conference on Animal Agriculture held at Nairobi, Kenya on 27-30 October 2014 (photo credit: ILRI/Tezira Lore).

Scientists from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) yesterday (28 Oct 2014) presented some of their recent research findings from studies on animal health and food safety in East Africa at the 6th All Africa Conference on Animal Agriculture. The conference is being held from 27 to 30 October 2014 at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi, Kenya.

Some 300 participants from all over Africa and beyond are attending the conference whose theme is Africa’s animal agriculture: Macro-trends and future opportunities. The five conference sub-themes are:

  • Youth: The future hope?
  • Which way for smallholder production systems?
  • Pastoral systems: Options for tomorrow
  • Market access: Opportunities for enhanced access to local, regional and global markets
  • Africa’s human capacity challenge for animal agriculture: Which way now?

Silvia Alonso, a postdoctoral scientist with ILRI’s Food Safety and Zoonoses program presented the following two papers:

Results from a study on Kenyan milk consumers’ behaviour and perceptions of aflatoxin were also presented. This study was a joint output of the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health and the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions and Markets.

Additionally, the following ILRI posters on smallholder dairying in Tanzania and pastoralism in Kenya and Tanzania featured in the poster session:

 

Posters by projects in ILRI's Food Safety and Zoonoses program featured at the 6th All Africa Conference on Animal Agriculture

Posters by projects in ILRI’s Food Safety and Zoonoses program featured at the 6th All Africa Conference on Animal Agriculture held at Nairobi, Kenya on 27-30 October 2014 (photo credit: ILRI/Tezira Lore).

 

 

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