Home Agriculture Antimicrobial Awareness Week: Farmers Urged to Embrace Laboratory Services

Antimicrobial Awareness Week: Farmers Urged to Embrace Laboratory Services

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Farmers operating in Nakasongola and the rest of the country have been called upon to embrace laboratory services in a bid to curb drug resistance in humans, animals and plants.

This appeal was made by a section of veterinary officers, health workers and laboratory technicians from different parts of Uganda namely Lyantonde and Wakiso during the climax of the World Antimicrobial Awareness Week in Nakasongola town council on Thursday. 

Sharon Kangabe, the laboratory technician at Nakasongola district veterinary laboratory, says that the laboratory tests and average of five samples daily and twenty samples every week, which indicates that the laboratory is currently under utilised.

Kangabe says the tests are free, take less than two hours in turn around time for brucellosis, anaemia, intestinal and stomach parasites such as worms. Farmers can deliver the samples themselves or through veterinary officers. 

Sharon Kangabe, the laboratory technician at Nakasongola district veterinary laboratory (WHO photo)

“I encourage farmers to make use of the laboratory so that we can diagnose the right diseases and use the proper drugs instead of treating without knowing what exactly is making the animals sick,” she says.

Sarah Nakanaabi, a veterinary doctor deployed at Nabiswera sub county, Nakasongola district agrees with Kangabe, saying farmers should only treat animals after getting laboratory results otherwise they could treat using the wrong drugs and make losses when their animals die eventually from undiagnosed diseases. 

Farmers, who spoke to reporters said that the laboratory is far and veterinary officers are few, resulting in low uptake of the laboratory services. 

Richard Kiggundu, a cattle keeper in Mayirikiti sub county says he would have to spend Shs20,000 to move to and from the laboratory that is located in Nakasongola town council and also set aside money to buy drugs.

Some of the farmers who attended the event (WHO photo)

 “There are only two veterinary officers for the whole sub county and it’s difficult to get them to visit each farm. So we call them on phone, tell them the signs and symptoms in the animals and then buy drugs they recommend. But after getting educated this week about drug resistance, I think I will have to look for ways to access the veterinary laboratory so that I treat what I know,” Kiggundu said.

Deo Ndumu, the Assistant Commissioner Animal Diseases Control at the ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries-MAAIF, addressing participants in Nakasongola. WHO photo

Deo Ndumu the Assistant Commissioner Animal Diseases Control at the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries-MAAIF said that there are plans to revamp the laboratory in Nakasongola so that tests for Foot and Mouth Disease and other diseases that affect humans and plants as stakeholders push for a One Health Approach in curbing antimicrobial resistance

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