The government of Uganda through the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO) Uganda, yesterday received the Regional Biosecurity Diagnostic Laboratory at Namulonge NARO centre under the theme ‘Quick and Accurate Disease detection for Development of Novel Control Strategies of Livestock Epidemics to save life, farmers ‘livelihoods and improve food security’.
The state of the art laboratory at the National Livestock Resources Research Institute (NaLIRRI) was as a result of Cooperative Biological engagement program in Uganda being implemented by the Defence Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA.
The Laboratory was commissioned and handed over to the Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries represented by Director General NARO, Ambrose Agona by Maj. Michael Miller from the US Embassy Kampala handed over the state of art Laboratory.
The Regional Biosecurity Diagnostic Laboratory (RDL) will serve Sub-Saharan Africa to ensure biological security and safety of livestock to curb emerging and recurrent disease outbreaks , epidemics and zoonotic diseases ( diseases like Anthrax transmitted from animal to man) that are prevalent in the region and occasionally in the country.
Dr Ambrose Agona, the NARO Director General said the facility has come at the right time and will not only help in early detection of livestock diseases but also transform the lives of farmers. He stated that in the previous incidents, disease outbreaks like foot and mouth were turned political as other markets would accuse the country of economic sabotage by placing quarantine for several years.
He said the facility is what has been lacking in as far as fighting such dangerous livestock diseases is concerned. He challenged NARO researchers to do more and be able to account in case he was asked the achievement after two years from now.
“We can now carryout surveillance, detection and diagnosis of livestock diseases before they break out. In the past, whenever, there was a breakout for example foot and mouth, government would impose a quarantine and on many occasions it would not be lifted for as many as three years because it was difficult to tell whether the area was free of the outbreak”, he said.
Agona lauded development partners noting that the laboratory cost a whooping Shs6bn with funding from US Department of Defense (DoD) through the Cooperative Biological Engagement Program (CBEP) in Uganda and was implemented by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA).
The US Department of Defense (DoD) initiated the Cooperative Biological Engagement Program (CBEP) in Uganda being implemented by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA). Through the CBEP, DTRA has constructed and equipped a state of the art Regional Biosecurity Diagnostic Laboratory (RDL) at the Livestock Research Institute in Nakyesesa under the National Agricultural Research Organization.
The laboratory, while serving the sub-Saharan African region, will facilitate enhancement of biological security and safety of livestock in Uganda especially at the time when there are several emerging and remerging disease outbreaks including deadly zoonotics such as Ebola and Anthrax.