Decentralisation frustrating veterinary services

A veterinary doctor examining sheep in Kotido district

KAMPALA, UGANDA – Veterinary doctors have decried poor delivery of veterinary services in the country. They attribute the inefficiency to the decentralization. 

The doctors are asking the Government to recentralize delivery of veterinary services in a bid to improve access to quality services.

Dr Robert Ojala the Chief Executive Officer of the Uganda Veterinary Association (UVA) told East African Business Week that the current administrative system of decentralization has greatly affected veterinary service delivery in the whole country. “When you look at veterinary service delivery in the country, it is shocking. Many livestock farmers are not accessing these services because of the high costs. Some districts have failed to recruit staff because of limited resources and poor facilitation.”

The Government introduced the decentralization system in 1997. Services were left under the control of Local Governments at the District Level as the lead agencies to offer services on behalf of the central Government.

According to veterinary doctors the Government is supposed to avail Veterinary Laboratories for clinical trials in case there is an out-brake of livestock related diseases.

Ojala said, “The Government veterinary doctors have no transport, no proper accommodation and are paid poorly. As a result many doctors shun these jobs and prefer opening up private clinics.

Another Doctor who spoke to East African Business Week on condition of anonymity said: “Sometimes we get calls from farmers needing assistance but they cannot pay for the necessary drugs.

Dr. Abed Bwanika the former president of UVA said the decentralization policy disfranchises the delivery of veterinary services.He urged  Government to come up with policies aimed at controlling disease spread.

Dr. Ojala said UVA plans to meet President Museveni to find mechanisms of improving the delivery of vet services.

According to the survey which was conducted by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development Center for Pastoral areas and Livestock Development, the livestock sector contributes about 3.2 percent to the GDP.