The government of Uganda has mandated compulsory vaccination for all animals in affected districts and those at high risk of infection in response to the spread of the contagious Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD).
Announced by Mr. Frank Tumwebaze, the Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry, and Fisheries, the compulsory vaccination extends to districts severely impacted by FMD and those deemed vulnerable to its transmission. Cabinet, chaired by President Museveni, approved the FMD control and eradication strategy presented by Minister Tumwebaze.
The strategy includes immediate sourcing of 10 million doses of FMD vaccine to enable widespread vaccination efforts in affected and neighboring districts at high risk. Currently, 36 districts have reported FMD cases, prompting the government to take decisive action. Among the affected districts are Budaka, Bukedea, Gomba, Ibanda, Isingiro, Kabarole, Kayunga, Kibuku, Lwengo, Rakai, Rwampara, and Sembabule.
Additionally, the Cabinet has banned the sale of unvaccinated animals in affected areas to contain the spread of the disease further. Minister Tumwebaze’s strategy also includes measures such as ring vaccination around affected areas, animal movement control, closure of livestock markets, and the institution of quarantine measures.
Minister Tumwebaze had previously presented plans for bi-annual compulsory vaccination of susceptible animal herds nationwide to eliminate FMD. This initiative requires 88 million doses of FMD vaccine annually, with each dose costing $2 (approximately Shs7,600). The total cost for bi-annual vaccination amounts to about $176 million (Shs673.4 billion).
To kickstart the vaccination campaign, the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry, and Fisheries reallocated funds from its development budget last year to provide 2.56 million vaccine doses to veterinary officers across 94 districts.
The timeline for the mandatory vaccination exercise depends on the duration of the procurement process, according to the ministry’s public relations manager, Ms. Charlotte Kemigyisha.
With these measures in place, the government aims to curb the spread of FMD and safeguard the livestock industry, a critical sector of Uganda’s economy.