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OHCEA joins Preparedness and Response Project in a stakeholder consultative meeting to develop a framework to strengthen the One Health approach to prevent and control zoonotic diseases in Uganda.

Thursday, 20 August 2015 - 12:00am
OHCEA Network Country: 

OHCEA was on 17-18 August 2015 invited by USAID Preparedness&Response (P&R) project to participate in a stakeholder meeting intended to further strengthen One Health Approach (OHA) in Uganda in order to achieve sustainable and functional collaboration within sectors responsible for the health of humans, domestic animals, wildlife and the environment. This important stakeholder meeting was attended by representatives from the Ministry of Health (MOH), Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), Office of the Prime Minister, Ministry of Water and Environment, Uganda Medical Association, Uganda Veterinary Association, District Health Officers and District Veterinary Officers from Busia, Ibanda, Bundibudgyo, Kyeggewa, Gulu, Lamwo, Luwero,  Kamwenge, Wakiso and Agago and Kibaale District; the hot spot of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases in Uganda, African Field Epidemiology Network (AFENET), PREDICT2 and USAID among others.

OHCEA has participated in a number of activities in Uganda to support capacity building of the current and future One Health workforce through a number of initiatives such as strengthening and developing  of One Health university curricula and programs, strengthening student experiential learning, establishing  multi-disciplinary student field attachments and One Health demonstration sites, supporting One Health student clubs and participating in- in-service leadership training in all network member countries.

Over the years, the Ministry of Health, MAAIF, UWA, OHCEA and other stakeholders have been working together through informal structures to address the increasing threats of new zoonotic infections and actual outbreaks. National Task Forces (NTFs) have been formed to respond to threats of emerging zoonoses, which meet as required in order to effectively handle a particular outbreak. However, in response to an increased need to work together with multi sectoral environment; a national framework to strengthen the OH approach to zoonotic disease prevention and management has become a priority. This effort is being co-ordinated by the Government of Uganda line ministries in charge of health and other stakeholders.

Dr. Jane Aceng, the Director General of the Ministry of Health shared a brief timeline of outbreaks of re-emerging and emerging diseases in Uganda. She highlighted the role of the Ministry of Health and its collaborating partners in dealing with emerging and re-emerging infections and reiterated Ministry of Health’s commitment in promoting the development of One Health Framework in Uganda. A representative from World Health Organization, Food and Agricultural Organization, the Commissioner Animal Health,  Uganda Wildlife Authority and Lisa Kramer the EPT 2 Advisor all reiterated their support and commitment to promoting the development of a One Health Framework for Uganda.

During the consultative stakeholder meeting; P&R introduced the project to stakeholders, shared the progress that had been made so far in the development of different country implementation plans. Representatives from Kenya and Cameroon were available during the stakeholder meeting to share their own experiences in developing a framework using the One Health approach. The process shared in both Cameroon and Kenya highlighted the need for extensive collaboration and consensus building at all levels; which takes time.

A One Health Technical Working Group and a multisectoral co-ordination unit with a specific focus on zoonotic diseases management is proposed. The proposed co-ordination unit intends to carry out a number of activities which include; drawing a list of priority zoonotic diseases in Uganda, developing a strategic plan of the management of zoonotic diseases; preparing annual work plans and budgets for zoonotic disease prevention and control, resource mobilization and liaisingbetween the different ministry divisions and partners among others. Details of this unit and organizational structure will be made available to all stakeholders through a rigorous consultative process. This consultative workshop was organized by the Government of Uganda through the support of the USAID funded P&R project.