Pictured at Hokkaido University: University of Zambia Vice Chancellor Prof Luke Mumba with Hokkaido University President Dr Toyoharu Nawa

The University of Zambia Vice Chancellor Prof Luke Mumba has held a series of collaborative discussions with Hokkaido University in Sapporo, Japan following a visit from 25th – 30th August 2017.

Hokkaido University has been a strategic partner to the University of Zambia. The University has among other collaborative activities supported PhD training to staff at the UNZA School of Veterinary Medicine, helped to establish the Hokkaido University Research Centre for Zoonosis Control (CZC) designated as the Hokudai Centre for Zoonosis Control in Zambia (HUCZCZ) at the School of Veterinary Medicine in April 2007 and further helped to establish the biosafety level – 3 laboratory facility in the School. The latter has been of great use in the diagnosis and handling of highly dangerous and infectious diseases such as Ebola and bird flu.

The two Institutions have also undertaken significant projects together from inception of the School of Veterinary Medicine in 1983. In 2014, the Global Institution for Collaborative Research and Education (GI – CORE) was established as a faculty organization under the direct control of the President of Hokkaido University to bring together a world class teaching staff who include staff from the UNZA School of Veterinary Medicine into a consortium for control of Zoonosis – diseases that could be transmitted from animals to humans.

The work of the two Universities to investigate effects of environmental pollution in Zambia dates back from 2008. Following recent research activities that revealed that child lead poisoning was a serious public health concern in Kabwe, the two Universities began a joint project on the Kabwe Mine Pollution Amelioration Initiative (KAMPAI) to establish among others how pollution is occurring and how it could be mediated.

The collaborative work of the University of Zambia with Hokkaido University has also produced the first PhD level Bio Informatician. Mayumba Nyirenda, a lecturer in the Department of Computer Studies at UNZA was enrolled in the Graduate School of Information Science and Technology in April 2013 and worked in collaboration with the Division of Bioinformatics, Research Centre for Zoonosis Control on the PhD topic Prediction of epidemics of influenza B viruses. He is expected to obtain his PhD in September 2017.

The two Universities are also working closely with the University Teaching Hospital. Their collaboration has been made possible under two projects namely, the Science and Technology Research Partnership for Sustainable Development (SATREPS) and the JICA supported project for the establishment of Rapid Diagnostic Tools for Tuberculosis and African Trypasonomiasis (HAT) and screening of candidate compounds of HAT. Through these initiatives, a low cost TB diagnostic kit has been developed and a containerized biosafety laboratory established.

Thus, in addressing the leadership of Hokkaido University, Prof Luke Mumba expressed sincere gratitude to the government of Japan for the support rendered to establish the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Zambia in 1983. Prof Luke Mumba acknowledged that prior to the establishment of the School, Zambia had only ten qualified veterinarians working in the Country.

‘Today we are proud to note that the School has graduated over three hundred veterinarians consisting of Zambian and international students mainly from the SADC region’, Prof Mumba said.

Arising from this engagement, the two Universities have agreed to strengthen collaboration on a multi-disciplinary landscape to involve more research and PhD training covering the Schools of Engineering, Natural Sciences, Medicine, Public Health, Health Sciences and Nursing Sciences. The two Universities have also agreed to scale up participation by UNZA academics in research activities through the Research Institute for Humanity and Nature.

The two Universities have also set out to introduce undergraduate student’s staff exchange from Hokkaido University in order to build capacity around infectious diseases and other zoonotic diseases. The University of Zambia will benefit from visiting scholars who will from time to time participate in teaching activities.

The two Universities further agreed to begin the process of twinning the UNZA veterinary clinic with the Hokkaido University Veterinary Teaching Hospital. This initiative is set to raise the quality of practice through sharing of technology, equipment and expertise.

Pictured at the Hokkaido University Veterinary Teaching Hospital theatre Vice Chancellor Prof Luke Mumba and Dean School of Veterinary Medicine Prof King Nalubamba observing an operation

The Vice Chancellor – UNZA and the President – Hokkaido University agreed to set up a Steering Committee to provide policy guidance and strengthen the sustainability of the UNZA and Hokkaido University partnership.

Pictured at Hokkaido University Vice Chancellor Prof Luke Mumba with PhD students from the University of Zambia studying Veterinary Medicine at Hokkaido University