CVA Country Councillor Profile – Dr Sylvia Baluka of Uganda

Q1. Tell us about you, your family and where you live?
Dr. Sylvia Angubua Baluka was born in the 1970s to Mr. Koiti Muhaita Sylvester & Mrs. Koiti Agnes Katooko in Budaka district, Eastern Uganda during President Idhi Amin’s era. Sylvia joined Makerere University (MAK) for a Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine in October 1993 and graduated with Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine, Makerere University on January 15, 1999. She holds a Master of Science in Food Safety, Michigan State University, USA, MBA, MAK, Post-graduate Diploma (Human Resource Management), Uganda Management Institute, Certificate in Integrated Pest Management & Food Safety, Wageningen University, Netherlands & PhD (Veterinary Medicine), MAK. She lecturers in the College of Veterinary Medicine, MAK. She is an expert in Food Safety, Animal Health Economics, Epidemiology, Global Health, Veterinary Administration & Jurisprudence. I have published several scientific papers in refereed journals, book chapters and motivational and guidance books for youths and a Food Safety Handbook. Sylvia has been married to Mr. Angubua Peter for the last 18 years. I am a mother to three sons (David Praise Angubua (16), Jonathan Divine Angubua (14) & Joshua Victor Angubua (12). I am a member of the Uganda Veterinary Association and Uganda Christian Veterinary Mission. I volunteer; as a community worker, in the church by offering pre-marital counselling to young couples preparing to get married and giving motivational and guidance talks to students in Primary and Secondary Schools. I would like to impact the youths by living as an exemplary model.

Q2. What is your favourite food?
My favourite food is ‘Matooke + Fish + Beans + Nakati + Pineapple’.

Q3. Do you have any favourite music?
Not a music fan, my hobby is reading & writing. But I appreciate gospel / Christian music.

Q4. What is your favourite sport?
‘Foot Ball’ i.e. watching not ….

Q5. Tell up in a paragraph what your current veterinary position is.
Currently I am at the rank of Lecturer in the College of Veterinary Medicine, Makerere University and I am looking forward to my next promotion to Senior Lecturer at the end of this year.

Q6. What influenced you to become a veterinarian?
University students visited my Secondary School when I was in A’Level (S.5 – S. 6) and their leader was a Veterinary Student who spoke very well and positively about the Veterinary Course at Makerere University and the Veterinary Profession while introducing himself and I was impressed that it was the best Profession that I needed to join.

Q7. What do you enjoy most about being a veterinarian?
The sense of belonging to the Uganda Veterinary Association which is by far one of the most organized and solid Professional Organizations in my country makes me feel that I am in the right Profession.

Q8. What are some of the main challenges for you and your national veterinary association?
The main challenges that the UVA faces stems from the fact that we lack a substantive Ministry of Animal Industry in the country. Hence the Veterinary / Livestock sector seems to be ranked low in regards to national priorities and often underfunded which paralyses the core activities in the Veterinary sector such as disease surveillance, mass vaccinations against epidemic transboundary animal diseases such as foot and mouth disease (FMD). Consequently many Veterinarians seem demoralized and discouraged which gives a negative image that may not attract young people into the Veterinary Profession if things continue like this.

Q9. How do you communicate to your organisation about the CVA and its activities?
My major channel of communication to the UVA about the CVA and its activities is via the emailing platform – the vetforumuganda and I attend all the UVA Executive meetings. In the near future, i plan to request for a time slot during the annual UVA Symposium and Annual General Assembly where I will provide briefs about CVA and its activities. This will help me to improve the visibility of CVA in Uganda. At the moment, many members of UVA are not conversant with what CVA stands for and how it benefits them.

Q10. How do you think the CVA can assist you in your Councillor Role?
CVA is already supporting me in my Councillor Role by sharing with me the News Letters and keeping me up-dated so that I also share with the UVA members in Uganda. In addition, the CVA can assist me in my role by sponsoring me to attend some relevant workshops and international conferences or visiting CVA Councillors in other countries to enable me to benchmark how they are executing their duties. This can go a long way in helping to improve my performance and CVA’s visibility in my country.