Uganda Imports New Sheep and Goat Plague Vaccines

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In short
A new combined vaccination campaign to fight deadly diseases, sheep and goat plague and Peste des Petits Ruminants, will benefit pastoralist communities and other livestock keepers in Uganda.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Industry together with Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) are to import new animal vaccines aimed at fighting a contagious disease affecting goats and sheep in the country. 

The disease can infect up to 90 percent of an animal heard, and the disease kills anywhere from 30 to 70 percent of infected animals. The virus does not infect humans.

Another similar viral disease affecting sheep and goats is known as Sheep and Goat Pox (SGP) which has a mortality rate of about 50% and equally presents a significant loss for any livestock keeper.

The vaccines are being promoted by the Global Alliance for Livestock Veterinary Medicines (GALVmed).

The Global Alliance for Livestock Veterinary Medicines, GALVmed, a not-for-profit organisation that works with partners to  make livestock vaccines available and accessible by smallholder farmers, is supporting the wider availability of a combined vaccine for Peste des Petits Ruminants and Sheep and Goat Pox developed by the Moroccan animal health company, M.C.I.
 
In 2015, vaccine trials of the combined Peste des Petits Ruminants, sheep and goat plague - LYOPOX-PPRTM were launched in Moroto, Karamoja, north-eastern Uganda where 700,000 sheep and goats were vaccinated along with 30,000 in Sembabule Districts.
Chrisostom Ayebazibwe, a senior veterinary officer at the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAIF) says farmers from the two parts of the country have appreciated the vaccines.

He says in the case of Sembabule, his ministry is exploring if the farmers can cost-share with the private sector to have their animals vaccinated.

The vaccines according to Ayebazibwe cost over three thousand shillings per animal. He says three thousand shillings is a lot of money particularly for farmers that own few goats and sheep. 

Sheep and Goat Plague according to Chrisostom Ayebazibwe was first reported in Uganda in 2007 leading to an estimated death of about 700,000 goats and sheep.

He says though there has not been another major outbreak the ministry estimates that around 10% of goats and sheep are dying quietly and the reason why there is need regular interventions to avoid another outbreak.

Small ruminants - sheep and goats - are a vital asset for many of the world's poorest livestock keepers and are reared in large numbers by pastoral communities. However, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 80% of the world's 2 billion small ruminant population in Africa, the Middle East and Asia are threatened by a disease known as Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR).

First discovered in 1942 in Côte d'Ivoire, this virulent disease has since spread to over 70 countries and many more remain at risk, particularly with the movement of animals by pastoral communities. 
Vaccines for both diseases are available but their use has been predominantly limited to governments vaccinating livestock once an outbreak occurs.

There is no treatment for infected animals and vaccination is the only way to prevent and reduce the incidence of these serious small ruminant diseases.

Despite the value of their animals, and the devastating effects of these two diseases, livestock keepers do not routinely vaccinate their livestock to prevent serious losses occurring.

 To help raise awareness about the two diseases and the need for routine vaccination, the Global Alliance for Livestock Veterinary Medicines (GALVmed) is working with partners in various countries to sensitise pastoralist communities and other livestock keepers.

Abdallah Said Twahir, GALVmed's Director of Market Development and Access says it may not be an easy task to sensitize pastoralists  to vaccinate their animals given that they are used to governments vaccinating their animals for free. 

The LYOPOX-PPRTM vaccine is registered in Morocco and awaits marketing authorisation in several countries where registration dossiers have already been submitted and accepted by regulatory authorities.

In Uganda, following the positive response from livestock keepers and communities to MCI's initial 100,000 doses, the government and FAO have ordered further supplies of the combined vaccine.

"We have the capacity to supply at least 135 million doses per year," says Baptiste Dungu, head of MCI strategy business development.

 "The project with GALVmed to prime the market has been very useful in creating awareness and triggering more use of the combined vaccine. We hope to expand on this approach."