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Linking hands to salvage lives

By Titus Kakembo

Added 7th July 2018 06:14 PM

The platform brings together the Ministries of Water and Environment, Health, Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries and Uganda Wildlife Authority.

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The platform brings together the Ministries of Water and Environment, Health, Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries and Uganda Wildlife Authority.

PIC: From huge herds to only 20 animals at Ziwa Rhino Ranch. (Credit: Titus Kakembo)

WILDLIFE


KAMPALA - Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) executive director, Sam Mwanda has emphasised the need to have a united approach through collaboration of different agencies to protect both people’s and animal’s health.

“As UWA, we assume leadership of this platform with a firm belief that, multi-stakeholder collaboration is the key to solving most of nature health challenges.

"A united approach by different agencies is the surest way to effectively and sustainably fight against zoonotic disease and protect public health,” stressed Mwandha.

This was said when Mwandha was taking over the leadership of the National One Health Platform at a function that was held by the Ministry of Water and Environment Headquarters recently.

The platform brings together the Ministries of Water and Environment, Health, Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries and Uganda Wildlife Authority to ably handle and contain disease outbreaks, epidemics and other public health emergencies.

Mwandha took the opportunity to have a flash back of 2004 and 2007 when UWA had outbreaks of anthrax in Queen Elizabeth National Park that killed almost 300 hippos.

“It was controlled and managed through the collaborative efforts of the national task - force that was put in place.

“UWA therefore cannot afford to be complacent about initiatives like One Health because we know that they will greatly benefit our tourism industry and wildlife conservation at large," Mwandha added.

Mwandha takes over the mantle of leadership from the Director of Environment in the Ministry of Water and Environment, Paul Mafabi.

True to Mwandha’s word, Uganda has over the years experienced several public health emergencies and 70% of them have been zoonotic (wildlife) in nature.

The tourism and health threatening disease outbreaks include: Ebola, Marburg, yellow fever, Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever, pandemic influenza, anthrax and rift valley fever.

The UWA spokesperson Gessa Simplicious asserts that, the above mentioned diseases are said to originate from diverse sources that need a multi-sectoral and multidisciplinary approach to manage them.

“This collaborative effort will keep numbers of tourists destined to Uganda growing because of the way they were handled in comparison to other destinations with similar attractions,” said Gessa.

“Together we can combat these out breaks known to endanger human and wild lives.”

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