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Prof. Waiswa Charles
Prof. Waiswa Charles - Director COCTU

Looking back at where it all began, it is now over 21 years when Uganda decided that it was time to deal with the problem of trypanosomiasis in the country and everyone who was supposed to play a role was brought on board under the Uganda Trypanosomiasis Control Council (UTCC) and its secretariat, Coordinating Office for Trypanosomiasis Control in Uganda (COCTU).

Since 1992 when the UTCC was established by an Act of Parliament, there has been a lot of hope and expectations as globally, this was the first One Health Body legally established with an Institutional framework which led to its openly being acknowledged by various stakeholders in the field of tsetse and trypanosomiasis control. The objectives and functions of the various actors are well outlined in the UTCC Act and it is high time this Institution leads from the front as a one health body using the control of trypanosomiasis as an example.

Currently, the target is to eliminate trypanosomiasis and eradicate tsetse from many affected countries including Uganda. Therefore, there is need for each stakeholder to give the contribution that will lead to collectively achieve the set targets. In addition to the big interventions, small actions that are user friendly and easily adoptable at community level will contribute greatly to the achievement of any set targets. Sharing of information and discussing intended actions among the stakeholders will help sharpen the approaches, in addition to bridging the gaps in the intervention activities in different target areas. All actors will therefore greatly need to work with one another and COCTU promises to be the platform and integrator for all the needed actions.

It is important now than ever than before all arrangements, actions and operations by the UTCC and its Secretariat (COCTU) are directed towards meeting the expectations that led to the establishment of this Institution.  This Institution is supposed to guide all stakeholders in the area of trypanosomiasis control to enable them move in the direction of Trypanosomiasis elimination and tsetse eradication and this is what need to be done now. Improvement on the coordination and guiding Government on areas that should take the frontline while prioritizing investment on issues of Trypanosomiasis control is a priority at the secretariat.

The UTCC secretariat supports any initiatives that promote public private partnerships in the area of trypanosomiasis control. And last but not least, it is important to explore utilisation of the youth and schools in promotion of the agenda of tsetse and trypanosomiasis eradication. It is the conviction of the secretariat that this will easily enable putting interventions and giving the community an entry point to invest and eventually contribute towards the future cost of the actions needed for sustainability.

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