Starting 2019, Uganda joins the ranks of VSF Germany‘s group of countries of operation. The central African country is highly susceptible to the spread of zoonotic diseases such as Ebola, anthrax and the so-called Rift Valley fever. 75 % of all illnesses are attributable to this type of infectious disease. The biggest obstacles in the fight against their spread are the slow monitoring and reporting systems. In 2019, less than 20% of all Ugandan districts effectively recorded case numbers for outbreaks of zoonoses.
At the beginning, the project focused on 25 districts, all of them in the so-called livestock corridor. This corridor stretches from the southwest via the center and the Karamoja cluster to the northeast. The animals of the Ugandan cattle farmers are increasingly threatened by pathogens and parasites - many animals die of diseases that could be avoided by a simple vaccination. As a consequence, not only the safe and balanced nutrition of the people is at risk, but ultimately the entire livelihood of the cattle farmers and their families. In addition, producers, but also processors and consumers are easily infected with so-called zoonotic pathogens. The diseased are usually treated with antibiotics, often without sufficient diagnostics or proof of efficacy. This can easily lead to the development of antibiotic resistance. Combined with a lack of food hygiene and safety, the health of the Ugandans is therefore particularly endangered.
Within the project, several partners are working in different areas of deployment. VSF Germany is responsible for training, consulting and capacity building in the veterinary field of the development program. Alongside VSF Germany and the ILRI (International Livestock Research Institute) as the leading organizations of the project, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institute (FLI) and the Ugandan Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) are also contributing important services. The project aims to support stock breeders, private providers of animal health services, educational institutions, livestock and meat traders.
The 4 pillars of the project: The project follows a holistic approach to protect the health of as many people and animals as possible. The program is based on four different pillars:
As this is the first project to be implemented in Uganda for a long time, organizational and logistical tasks were on the agenda initially. By 2019, an operational office was established in consultation with the ILRI. Subsequently, two staff members each could be employed for technical and administrative support.
All relevant interest groups have been recorded and mapped on site. 36 staff members of the MAAIF's Epidemiology and Surveillance Department have been extensively informed about participatory disease surveillance.
Technical Project Manager
In his role as Technical Project Manager Joshua Waiswa is responsible for the implementation of the BUILD project in the new project country Uganda. He has been part of the team since 2019.