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Uganda To Receive Three Million FMD Vaccine Doses

The Egyptian delegation visiting NARO facilities for vaccine production

The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry, and Fisheries will today receive 3 million doses of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) vaccines from Egypt to bolster efforts to curb the current outbreak affecting some parts of the country.

This was confirmed today in a meeting held by the Agriculture Minister, Hon. Frank Tumwebaze, with a delegation of Egyptian officials at his office in Kampala. The delegation, led by Major General Mohsen Abdel Hakam Azouz, the Director of the Veterinary Service Department in Egypt, assured the Minister that the vaccines would arrive in the country in the afternoon.

They revealed that this would only be the first batch of the 10 million vaccines Egypt is prepared to dispatch to Uganda.

Staff Brig-Gen. Mohamed, the defense attaché at the Egyptian Embassy in Kampala, said the vaccines were part of the national reserves for Egypt, but a directive was given by President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to dispatch them to Uganda after learning of the current FMD outbreak.

“His Excellency President el-Sisi ordered a quick supply of 6 million doses of the vaccine from Egypt’s strategic reserves to help our brothers in Uganda overcome the pandemic quickly. As I speak, there are people preparing to load the first batch of 3 million doses to land in Uganda tomorrow, Thursday,” Mohamed noted.

He said the delegation members, including Prof. Dr. Mohamed Ahmed Saad, the Director of the Veterinary Serum and Vaccine Research Institute in Egypt, and Dr. Abdel-Hamid Bazid of the MEVAC Company, were experts specialized in producing the required vaccines with international quality, and they were here to explore technical cooperation between the two countries in vaccine production.

Minister Tumwebaze commended the two governments for the cooperation that will see the first batch of vaccines arrive tomorrow. He said the ultimate goal was to enhance collaboration to produce a quadrivalent vaccine with serotypes O, A, SAT-1, and SAT-2 that can curb the four strains of FMD in Uganda.

Minister Tumwebaze meeting the Egyptian delegation on Wednesday in Kampala.

Through this arrangement, the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) will produce a monovalent FMD vaccine with serotype SAT-1 to be reconstituted with the trivalent vaccine from Egypt containing serotypes O, A, and SAT-2, to have a complete quadrivalent vaccine.

The Egyptian delegation visited the NARO laboratories at the National Livestock Resources Research Institute (NaLIRRI) in Nakyesasa in Wakiso district on Tuesday, where they assessed the readiness and capability of the facilities for joint FMD vaccine production. They were led around by the NARO Director General, Dr. Yona Baguma, who revealed that the organisation was already equipped to do diagnostics for FMD including identifying the different strains, and efforts are on to start local production of vaccines.

Prof. Dr. Mohamed Ahmed Saad said they were impressed by the expertise of NARO scientists, capabilities of the laboratories, and noted that some equipment needed to be brought in, coupled with specialized training in running them, before the entire production process is done locally.

Staff Brig-Gen. Mohamed revealed that Egypt was keen on establishing a factory in Uganda to produce vaccines not just for Uganda but for the East African region as a whole.

Maj. Gen. Kasura-Kyomukama, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry, and Fisheries, noted that there was a need for local production of the vaccine since the country requires up to 88 million doses each year. He assured the country that all efforts are being made to ensure that the current outbreak is contained and the threat eliminated in the long run. The vaccines arriving in the country will add to the 900,000 doses of Foot and Mouth Disease vaccines that were dispatched to 46 districts two weeks ago.

 

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