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President Museveni Optimistic of Egypt-NARO Partnership on FMD Vaccine Production

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President of the Republic of Uganda, Gen. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has welcomed the partnership between the Egyptian and Ugandan governments through the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO) to start local production of vaccines for the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD).

This was while he met a delegation from the government of Egypt at his Kisozi farm in Gomba District over the weekend. The First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports, Maama Janet Museveni, attended the engagement.

NARO was represented by the Deputy Director General in charge Research Coordination, Dr. Swidiq Mugerwa.

The Minister for Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Hon. Frank Tumwebaze, revealed that the Government will support NARO to build a factory in Uganda for the vaccine production while bringing in technology from Egypt. The Egyptians will also train Ugandan scientists at NARO in specialized FMD vaccine production.

Dr Moses Dhikusooka (right), the team leader vaccine research at the National Livestock Resource Research Institute (NaLIRRI) explains to the Egyptian team a point on the equipment in the NARO labs

The FMD virus in Uganda is composed of four strains or serotypes namely; Serotype “O”, Serotype “A”, “SAT 1” and “SAT 2”. Egypt produces vaccines covering only three of these serotypes- serotype “O”, Serotype “A”, and “SAT 2”.

Uganda will therefore produce serotype SAT 1, which will be infused into the three serotypes from Egypt to create a quadrivalent vaccine that will ensure that vaccinated animals are given all-round protection.

Uganda has at least 16 million cows, and a multitude of other domestic animals including goats, pigs, among others, which brings the number of livestock in the country to 44 million and all of them require to be vaccinated.

The President was optimistic that with the involvement of NARO, the research process will be faster and accrue quick benefits for the country.

The Egyptian delegation visited the NARO laboratories at the National Livestock Resources Research Institute (NaLIRRI) in Nakyesasa in Wakiso district on 21st May 2024, where they assessed the readiness and capability of the facilities for joint FMD vaccine production. They were led around by the NARO Director General, Dr. Yona Baguma, who revealed that the organisation was already equipped to do diagnostics for FMD including identifying the different strains, and capacity is being built to start local production of vaccines.

Prof. Dr. Mohamed Ahmed Saad said they were impressed by the expertise of NARO scientists, capabilities of the laboratories, and noted that some equipment needed to be brought in, coupled with specialized training in running them, before the entire production process is done locally.

Gen. Mohsen Azouz, who is the Director Veterinary Service Department-Egypt, assured President Museveni that the Egyptian government is committed to the partnership between Uganda and Egypt.

The meeting was also attended by Hon. Bright Rwamirama, the Minister of State for Animal Industry, Maj. Gen. David Kyomukama Kasura, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries and Lt. Gen. Sam Okiding, Deputy Chief of Defence Forces and Dr. Anna Rose Okurut Ademun, Commissioner Animal Health-Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries.

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