Home Livestock & Diary Zoetis’ ALPHA initiative advances livestock health in Nigeria and Uganda

Zoetis’ ALPHA initiative advances livestock health in Nigeria and Uganda

by Grace Kisembo

Two new partnerships to enhance the diagnostics infrastructure in Nigeria and Uganda build on the progress Zoetis is making with its three-year African Livestock Productivity and Health Advancement (ALPHA) initiative in sub-Saharan Africa.

Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation and Zoetis, ALPHA aims to develop a new veterinary diagnostic lab in Nigeria in partnership with Chi Farms, as well as facilitate sustainable animal health conditions in Uganda.

Continued efforts around training and education, and the first new products approved for veterinary use in Nigeria are some of the most recent achievements.

Expanding diagnostics networks for livestock in Africa

Zoetis and Chi Farms Limited, a subsidiary of the TGI Group, recently announced their partnership to inaugurate an ultra-modern animal care veterinary centre tagged ‘City Laboratory’ in Ibadan, Oyo State.

The project will execute scientific research programmes, deliver quality
diagnostic products, medicines and vaccines, carry out genetic tests,
offer bio-devices and deliver a range of other animal care services.

The laboratory has been established with the purpose of improving the health of livestock in Nigeria through the production and supply of quality medicines and veterinary consultations.

Joshua Olorungbemi, Country Lead, Zoetis/ALPHA initiative said: “We are committed to supporting a similar laboratory network across Nigeria to enable farmers to have access to veterinary diagnostic services.

The General Manager of Chi Farms Limited, Dr Tunji Olaitan, said: “We offer a wide range of products and services, and by providing these facilities we will open up access to quality healthcare delivery and management. Our goal is to ensure farmers’ investments are secure and sustainable.”

CHI Farms’ selection by Zoetis as one of Nigeria’s two executors of Project ALPHA was a welcome development he said, as the company forms alliances with like minds in order to create value for farmers and ultimately, the nation.

He further stated that “with Zoetis providing technical expertise as well as the materials and equipment needed for education and training, and the partners’ experience, facility and reach, the opening of the new veterinary centre will have a positive impact”.

Expanding diagnostic services in Uganda

In Uganda, Zoetis has announced a new partnership with the Uganda Meat Producers Cooperative Union Ltd (UMPCU) to deliver sustainable animal health diagnostic services, education and training to the country’s veterinarians and farmers.

“Improving animal health in beef farms is important in contributing to our sustainable economic development goals and business opportunities in Uganda,” said Herbert Kamugisha, Chairman of the UMPCU. “The partnership should result in valuable diagnostic and farmer outreach services that will ensure improved beef production and food safety
among rural livestock farmers in Uganda.”

Zoetis will partner with UMPCU to support the laboratory equipment set-up in two Livestock Resource Centres; one in Butalangu-Nakaseke district and the other one in Nabitanga-Sembabule district. Zoetis will provide expertise and deliver veterinary diagnostics training, educational material for farmers, as well as digital tools.

These additional resources will allow UMPCU to bring high-quality diagnostic services to farmers and improve the diagnosis rate of major livestock production diseases.This approach will also encourage the correct and responsible use of veterinary products.

The ultimate aim of this strategic partnership will be to meet the current
needs of farmers and veterinarians in regard to the most prevalent and
important cattle diseases, and meet the requirements of different players
in the local beef market.

Important step for ALPHA initiative

“With the Zoetis ALPHA initiative, Zoetis was looking for partners with an excellent network in animal health and strong geographical coverage, that could act as a point of contact for farmers and vets,” said Dr Gabriel Varga, Regional Director, Africa, Zoetis and leader of the ALPHA initiative.

“Having a partner like UMPCU with experience along the food production value chain – from the farm to the fork – is very important in proving the positive impact these diagnostic solutions and training opportunities can help deliver.”

Foundation for enhanced veterinary care

Dr Varga says Zoetis has seen at first-hand the dire animal health situation in sub-Saharan Africa and has been working on all possible fronts to quickly establish the framework for success of the ALPHA initiative.

“We have made good progress and have also learned a lot. We are applying our learnings to achieve pioneering results in our first project year. Looking ahead, we are taking steps to ensure we can continue to build the infrastructure needed to help veterinarians and farmers to improve the health and productivity of their livestock and livelihoods.”

Rob Kelly, President, International Operations at Zoetis says animal health is extremely important in contributing to sustainable economic development goals and business opportunities in Africa. “Farming and animal agriculture are major forms of livelihood for people in sub-Saharan Africa. By improving access to critical veterinary products and services, and building an infrastructure for quality animal healthcare, we can make a positive long-term impact.”

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