KAMPALA – The National Drug Authority (NDA) on Thursday embarked on the construction of a quality control laboratory and pledged to end the importation, manufacture and distribution of counterfeit drugs.
Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony at NDA’s former head office on Lumumba Avenue in Kampala, the NDA acting board chairman, Dr Medard Bitekyerezo, said quality control laboratory will be constructed at a cost of UGX32 billion, which he said will be generated from the authority’s funds.
Dr Bitekyerezo added that there are increasing cases of drug resistance, especially in antibiotics, for malaria and typhoid, which he attributed to poor quality drugs.
Dr Ruth Aceng, the Health Minister, who presided over the launch, said the laboratory will be complete within two years and warned dealers of counterfeit drugs that the laboratory will be installed with advanced machines to detect them.
“We have an obligation to ensure that the public has access to quality drugs. For those who think will deal in substandard drugs are in for it. This laboratory will expose them. We are aware NDA has endured so many challenges ensuring locally manufactured and imported drugs are safe for human and animal health,” Dr Aceng said.
She added that the disease burden in Uganda is still high of which 75 percent are preventable diseases. She added that communicable diseases are still rampant thus require having effective drugs.
“There is a high burden of communicable diseases. The construction of the quality control laboratory will ensure that drugs on the market are effective. This will improve human health and the public will be safeguarded from substandard medicine,” Dr Aceng said.
Dr Bitekyerezo appealed to President Museveni not to transfer Ms Aceng because she has steered the ministry and she deserves to stay in the same portfolio to attest its achievements.
“I will be meeting President Museveni and I will request him to keep you in this ministry because you help us achieve a lot within a short period. You understand the ministry and we might name one of the towers after you,” Dr Bitekyerezo said.