Before Uganda was colonized the Veterinary services were undertaken by livestock owners individually and at community level as well. Like the human beings scenario, herbal therapy was the most appropriate medicine of the day. The common surgical operation at the time was castration of inferior bulls and at times making docile wild males.Equally bleeding cattle for a blood meal was a widely practice surgical activity among the cattle keeping communities. The main livestock at the time consisted of the indigenous species of cattle, Goats, sheep and donkeys in some few parts of Uganda like Karamoja and Kapchorwa. These among others were raised for economic as well as social purposes like bride price, clothing (hides and skins), food, transport like the case of donkeys, prestige and others. The disease menace at the time included external as well as internal parasites like the ticks, mice, fleas, helminths and others.
Many of the external parasites were manually removed during the morning fire basking (ebicome) and destroyed while the internal parasites were treated with herbs. Other external parasites were removed by biological control mechanisms. Keeping of chicken in the homesteads was very handy at achieving this. Every morning before cattle could go to graze; chicken would do rounds and rounds of feeding on these external parasites. For the internal parasites, quite extensive herbal concoctions were available for the purpose so was for East Coast Fever (Amashuyu) and other ailments. Some surgical operations were carried out. Such included castration of all inferior bulls and in all other animal male species.
When Uganda became a British colony, the colonialists attempted to model the veterinary services in an image of their veterinary services back home. The only difference here was that the Veterinary Services was purely the responsibility of the Government in the colony. The Veterinary services by the British are said to have started slightly around 1890s with their bases in Kenya until 1908 when the first British vet started operating from Uganda (Nsubuga, H.S.K, John Mukiibi, Trish Silkin and Florence Kasirye).
Their main interests were in controlling two main cattle diseases namely; Contagious Bovine Pleural Pneumonia (CBPP) mainly in the Karamoja region and Rinderpest in many other parts of Uganda. These two diseases paused a great challenge to their interests routed in settling in the Kenya highlands. In 1912 five colonial animal Health Specialists arrived in Uganda. In 1920 there was an Inter Territorial Conference on the Rinderpest control.
In 1921 a Veterinary Department was set up in the Ministry of Agriculture. Around 1930, some Ugandans were allowed to train in Veterinary Sciences at Makerere College School. These comprised the Assistant Veterinary officers, Veterinary Assistants and the Veterinary Scouts (Trish Silkin and Florence Kasirye). The training in the colonial Eyes was just to assist the colonial Vets and later could be able to take on some veterinary tasks like vaccinations, simple surgical operations like castration, meat inspection and others. Later a training school was set up to train both veterinary assistants and Agricultural assistants at Bukalasa Agricultural institute. In 1959 The Makerere Veterinary School was taken to Kabete in Kenya. In 1962 the Assistant Veterinary Officers category was abolished. In the same year the Veterinary Training Institute trained the Veterinary Assistants at Certificate level at first, and Animal Husbandry officers at Diploma level later.
The Animal husbandry officers could be in three categories; the General Animal Husbandry officers for the field work, the Ranch management personnel for Ranches development and management and the Dairy specialists specialized in safe and clean milk management and processing. In 1971 the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine was introduced at Makerere University putting an end to the training at Kabete in Kenya. All those trained would be employed by the government until the 1980s when the government was no longer able to absorb all the graduates in different categories. The government then chose to privatize the services of the veterinary services. As capitalism demands, the more profit oriented services took precedence; the obvious choice was none other than the pharmaceutical industry. What happened to the extension services offered by the government then? Did the farmers know about this policy paradigm shift? Were they involved at all in this policy paradigm shift or were they prepared at all for it? What might be the effect of this policy paradigm shift on these farmers? What about the effect on government? Was the effectiveness and efficiency of the private led Veterinary services achieved? Is it achieving desirable results? Is there any need for evaluating the situation for a possible review if necessary?