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Scientists from Uganda and Botswana collaborate to develop FMD vaccines

Botswana Vaccine Institute have finalised an agreement to work with NARO to develop FMD vaccine in Uganda. (Image source: The State House of Uganda)

Scientists from the Botswana Vaccine Institute have partnered with Ugandan scientists and the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry, and Fisheries to combat foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), known to be one of livestock industry's most notorious viral diseases, resulting in economic losses wordwide

Following the bilateral meeting between President Museveni and President Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi of Botswana, which took place on 22 January, the decision to collaborate was revealed during a follow-up engagement between President Museveni and Botswana scientists at the State House in Entebbe, Uganda.

Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry, and Fisheries, Frank Tumwebaze informed the President that scientists from the Botswana Vaccine Institute had agreed to partner with the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO), to develop a vaccine to combat foot and mouth disease in Uganda. "They are now serving Southern Africa, so they believe they can also help us produce for East Africa,” Tumwebaze said, while also explaining that they had managed to convince the Botswanan delegation to buy high quality milk from Uganda.

The scientists from the Botswana Vaccine Institute have since collected samples from cattle affected by FMD in the cattle corridor and other parts of the country. During sample collection, technical director of the Botswana Vaccine Institute, Mokganedi Mokopasetso noted that they had visited three districts in the eastern and western parts of the country. The next step involves sample testing, following which the final findings of the report will be released, tentatively by 29 March this year.