In Karamoja region in Uganda, a mass vaccination program for livestock has begun. This initiative is supported by the Ministry of Agriculture, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the World Food Program (WFP), and the leadership of the nine districts in the Karamoja sub-region.
The vaccination program, overseen by Animal Industry State Minister Bright Rwamirama and a team from FAO, is designed to address various diseases affecting livestock in the region, including Foot and Mouth disease (FMD), contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP), contagious caprine pleuropneumonia (CCPP) for goats, sheep and goat pox (SGP), and PPR, commonly known as goat plague.
The primary goal of this vaccination effort is to mitigate the spread of diseases that affect animals and can cross borders, referred to as transboundary animal diseases (TADS), which have been a persistent issue in the Karamoja sub-region.
The mass vaccination program commenced on October 11 in Kotido District and will continue in Moroto and Napak Districts. It is financially supported by the European Union through the Strengthening Shock-Responsive Systems in Karamoja, Pro-ACT project.
The project has a broader aim of enhancing the resilience of households in Karamoja that often experience food insecurity due to various factors. In particular, the project focuses on the risks posed by livestock diseases and underscores the importance of early warning systems to prevent and prepare for disease outbreaks.
Beyond vaccination, the campaign also seeks to raise awareness about the role of vaccination as a proactive measure to reduce the impact of transboundary animal diseases in Karamoja. Additionally, it aims to facilitate discussions on the future of livestock disease control in the region, including the development of long-term strategies for TADS control.
Karamoja is characterized by its arid nature and heavy dependence on livestock. It can be divided into three livelihood zones, which are influenced by the region’s prolonged dry season and unpredictable rainfall patterns. These zones include pastoral and semi-arid areas along the eastern border with Kenya, spanning parts of Kaabong, Moroto, and Amudat districts.
Since 2001, the region has experienced extended dry spells, leading to recurrent crop failures and decreased livestock productivity. The presence of transboundary animal diseases further exacerbates the challenges faced by the livestock in Karamoja.
Efforts to manage these diseases have been ongoing, with previous mass vaccination campaigns conducted in 2008-2010, 2016, and 2021. These initiatives have vaccinated hundreds of thousands and millions of livestock against diseases like CBPP and PPR.