13 January 2013

Uganda: Vets and Medics Sign Up to Fight Diseases

In a rare example of cross- disciplinary collaboration, veterinary and human medicine experts have agreed to work together to fight disease outbreaks, after many claimed lives and left thousands with grave physical trauma last year.

The diseases targeted for control include Avian influenza (bird flu), Anthrax, Ebola, Marburg haemorrhagic fevers, anthrax and nodding syndrome. Their spread is blamed on contact between man and animals. The World Veterinary Association (WVA) and the World Medical Association (WMA) have agreed to work together to control these outbreaks.

At the local level, the Uganda Medical Association and Uganda Veterinary Association have also agreed to work together to conduct joint research, prevention and control strategies.

According to Dr Margaret Mungherera, president of the Uganda Medical Association, the two associations are expected to sign a memorandum of working together, next month.

"It is high time we looked at health in totality," Dr Mungherera said, at a press conference at the Uganda Media Centre on Thursday.

Dr Lawrence Mugisha, the vice chairperson of Uganda Veterinary Association, revealed that the two associations have organized a join conference, to run from February 14-16 at Hotel Africana, to identify areas of joint cooperation in research, training and budgeting to eliminate and control disease outbreak. Quoting scientific data, Dr Mugisha said that 1,500 pathogens that cause diseases in human beings also cause disease in animals.

"If you control rabies in man and you don't control rabies in dogs, you are doing nothing," Dr Mugisha explained, before adding that it is cheaper to vaccinate dogs against rabies, than controlling the corresponding disease in humans.

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