Uganda’s West Nile region has received a refurbished modern laboratory to enable veterinary officers to handle zoonotic diseases and emerging infectious diseases in animals in the sub-region.
The facility which is located along Arua-Lia road in Arua was refurbished and equipped with the support of the Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI) and funding valued at 413 million Shillings from UK-Aid.
Dr Andrew Kambugu, the Executive Director of the Infectious Diseases Institute said that decided to invest in refurbishing and upgrading the facility to a modern biosafety laboratory level II due to the location of West Nile which poses a higher risk of emerging infectious diseases.
According to reports by both the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Health; at least six of the seven priority zoonotic diseases are prevalent in the sub-region. The diseases include Brucellosis, Anthrax, Trypanosomiasis, Rabies, Rift Valley Fever, plague and Black quarter, some of which also affect humans.
Christopher Dradriku, an official at the West Nile Regional Public Health Emergency Operation Centre has commended the development and is optimistic that the refurbished and upgraded laboratory will greatly enhance surveillance of zoonotic diseases.
Moyo District Veterinary Officer Dr Richard Akule has challenged local farmers to utilise the laboratory to promote regional trade. He added that there will be no more need to take samples to the National Animal Disease Diagnostics and Epidemiology Centre in Entebbe since the tests can now be done within.
Charles Opio Bosco, the Principal Veterinary Inspector at the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries equally appealed to the District Veterinary Officers to utilize the facility so that it’s not left to waste.