By Dramadri Federick
Infectious Disease Institute has injected 330 million shillings to refurbish the dilapidated and unutilized Regional Animal Disease Diagnostic and Epidemiology Center for west Nile region located near Enyau River along Onduparaka road in Arua city.
The facility which has been in existence for the last seven years was constructed in 2015 by the then Arua district council under Wadri Sam Nyakua the current mayor Arua city to the tune of 120M shillings. This regional vet lab has been redundant largely due to lack of technical personnel, inadequate funding, missing components like the incinerator, while no essential equipment could be allowed in the dilapidated structure, an issue that rendered the place a waste.
The director of West Nile regional veterinary lab, Dr. Willy Nguma who is also the Arua district’s Veterinary officer says the facility could not enable microbiology testing due to several missing components as a result samples are taken elsewhere to establish disease outbreaks in the region and some are referred to the National Animal Disease Diagnostic and Epidemiology Center.
“We might have not been referring samples to other Labs if this was working, but at the moment we cannot even carryout Microbiology and histological tests, Many animals are brought by the refugees and we host communities without testing and in the end they spread a lot of diseases to peoples and animals in West Nile.
The Vet lab in Arua should be able to detect such cases and reports be given to the Director West Nile Regional Animal Disease Diagnostic and Epidemiology Center indicating that out of the seven prioritized zoonotic diseases by ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries, also as required by the Food , Agricultural Organization and World Health Organization, six of the seven diseases were prevalent in the West Nile Region which include Rabies, plague, Anthrax, brucellosis, Rift valley fever and Trithyonosomyosis which are attributed to the freely international cross border movement of animals.
The renovation of the facility which would take three months has been given to Kojex Construction Company in which they are expected to change several structures so as to accommodate all the equipment according to the modern environment.
The executive director Rhonie Kojex assured the region of quality and timely delivery of works.
“I want to assure you that quality is going to be our priority, this is not our first time to do constructions in the region, we carried construction at Nebbi Hospital, Oli health center IV and Rhino camp therefore we have the trust and the people know what we are capable of doing”. Said Ronnie Kojex.
However, the regional coordinator Infectious Disease Institute Gerald Aluma revealed that this is one of the countrywide activities of the organization under the flaming fund aimed at establishing and equipping regional veterinary laboratories, to be able to handle disease confirmation at their levels other than depending on the central labs.
Among other support extended to the facility to boast for refurbishment include donation of computers, furniture and other laboratory equipments that are expected to would speed up in the detection of the huge disease burden in the West Nile region.