Vets Demand Own Ministry

The Uganda Veterinary Association (Uva) wants the veterinary sector to have its own ministry, instead of being under Agriculture.

Speaking recently at the Uva scientific symposium to commemorate 75 years of existence at Hotel Africana, Dr Lali Mundrugo-Ogo, the association president, said they want a ministry of Veterinary Services because veterinary staff are excluded from the “decision-making process” by the ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF).

The day’s theme was: “Positioning the veterinary profession and livestock sector beyond 75 years of existence.”

Dr Mundrugo-Ogo said a separate ministry would help improve production, disease control, research and marketing since MAAIF has an insufficient budget. For years, the veterinary sector had a ministry – ministry of Veterinary Services, Animal Industry and Fisheries – that was phased out to create MAAIF in the early 1990s. In 2012, Uva petitioned Parliament for the reinstatement of the ministry.

Mundrugo-Ogo added that veterinarians had missed the national cake for long.

“No professional veterinarian [has] got appointed a full cabinet minister for 23 years now,” he said.

The veterinarians also complained of “under representation” on the National Drug Authority (NDA) board, saying it was “oriented towards human medicines.”

But Mundrugo-Ogo was optimistic that the transformation of NDA into the Foods and Medicines Authority would address the challenge. He called for improved coordination between the ministries of Health and Agriculture.

He also underscored the need to step up the crackdown on fake veterinarians who he said were tainting the profession’s image. To ease their work, Uva called on government to revive the Uganda Veterinary Board, saying its dysfunction had burdened the association with issues of professional concern.

Meanwhile, the association also resolved to launch the Veterinary Wealth Savings and Credit Cooperative Union (VWS) soon, according to the cooperatives board chairman, Dr Richard Mucunguzi. Uva will also invest in its assets, including land in Namanve, to generate income to finance its activities.

Source : The Observer

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