Uganda


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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