A MULTI-million shilling project using nuclear technology to control tsetse flies, which spread sleeping sickness, has closed down amid complaints related to financial mismanagement.
The project at the National Livestock Resources Research Institute (NaLIRRI) in Tororo, was meant to stop tsetse flies from multiplying. The scientists were using a method called Sterile Male Technique.
The project, into which donors and Government injected sh700m, came amid a resurgence of sleeping sickness and nagana in recent years.
When Saturday Vision visited the laboratory, a worker who did not disclose his identity, said the project collapsed due to lack of funds. None of the ministry officials concerned was willing to comment on the project. â€œThe equipment got spoilt and rats ate the tsetse flies,â€ he said.
Dr Nicholas Kauta, the Commissioner for Livestock Health and Entomology, to whom the researchers were reporting, declined to comment.
Dr Edward Ssewanyana, NaLIRRI director, said he was new and did not know what killed the project.
Ssewanyana said although NaLIRRI hosted the project, it was the mandate of the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries.
Ssewanyanaâ€™s predecessor, Dr Charles Otim, declined to state what led to the collapse of the project.
Dr Dennis Kyetere, the Director General of the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO), said he was not aware the project had collapsed. NaLIRRI is one of the institutes under NARO.
Dr Loyce Okedi, the head of Sleeping Sickness Research Programme at NaLIRRI, said their research had shown a major resurgence of tsetse flies in eastern Uganda.
She, however, said she had nothing to do with the tsetse fly project.
Tsetse fly project collapses