A team of Ugandan veterinary doctors have asked the government to stop importing anti-tick vaccines from Cuba, claiming the medicine is less effective compared to the one that has been developed locally.
Fredrick Kabi, a leading researcher at the state-run National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO), said on Tuesday that the imported vaccines have met increased resistance from ticks and that they were a deterrent to the eco-system.
NARO is the country's top body that guides and coordinates all agricultural research activities in Uganda.
Speaking during a technology dissemination workshop in Kampala, the expert said Uganda was losing about 9.8 million U.S. dollars annually in the importation of anti-tick vaccines and acaricides.
"The NARO tick vaccine is superior to the tick vaccine being imported from Cuba. The Cuban vaccine attacks only one tick and the NARO one attacks the 3 ticks affecting the Ugandan livestock," Kabi said.
Kabi advised the government to expedite the process of allowing NARO to commercialize their vaccine. Kabi was supported by the state minister for agriculture, Christopher Kibanzanga, who argued that failure to pass the National Biotechnology and Bio-safety Bill had greatly contributed to among other things, a massive brain drain of scientists from Uganda.
It had crippled research in agriculture.
"The government recognizes the increasing challenges associated with climate change. We are committed to empowering scientists to create a vibrant and responsive science and technology sector," the minister said.
Joy Kabatsi, minister of state for animal industry, appealed to the scientists to allow the government to import the Cuban vaccines as an interim measure as the process of commercialization of the NARO vaccine is ongoing.