Makerere, IGAD in collaboration to train Somali vet professionals

As it prepares to celebrate 90 years of existence, Makerere university has declared its intensions to ‘directly export’ diplomas to the Sheik Technical Veterinary School (STVS) of Somalia in collaboration with the regional Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

This was revealed by Prof. John David Kabasa, the principal Makerere University College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal resources and Bio security (COVAB) at a press briefing recently. Prof. Kabasa said plans to form this collaboration started six years ago when the STVS wrote to COVAB asking for help particularly in the areas of research, knowledge management and technology transfer.

“We see this as a regional agenda and at COVAB we are strategically repositioning for better innovative plans, a humble way of contributing to peace” he said.

He added, “There are now ten students from Somalia doing their diplomas at the College while hundreds are taught from Somalia by our own professors from here. STVS is our baby and we must nature it to university level”

The program which aims at raising the status of the Somali institute to a university of agriculture and veterinary medicine in the near future is solely sponsored by IGAD according to Mahboub Maalin IGAD executive secretary.

“Leaders are born and made in Makerere, so we are going to work on a system to see how IGAD is to pool money and sponsor even more students and expand this program. People in our area have knowledge about agriculture but with Makerere we hope for the better” said Mr. Maalin. However he declined to mention the amount of money expected to be injected and the period it will take.

He said that last year alone the horn of Africa exported about 3.5 million live animals to the Middle East to reflect a half a million increase in the number of animals exported in the year 2010.

Despite the fact that STVS has started as an affiliate institution to COVAB with agriculture, the collaboration is to be rolled out to the entire university in the near future. To promote quality education diploma students under this programme will be required to present a viva before they are qualified as veterinary doctors.

Speaking on the matter however, Makerere University deputy Vice Chancellor Prof . Lilian Tibatemwa Ekirikubinza advised the program facilitators to consider gender as a main issue after knowing that out of the ten Somali students under the program at Makerere only two are girls.

“we must stream line gender in these issues” she said, “our strategic plan is internationalisation and regionaisation across the board brcause what affects Somalia affects Uganda and Kenya but we won’t limit this collaboration to the COVAB we should move it to other collages”

bssenoga@ug.nationmedia.com

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