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NDA Crackdown On Falsified Veterinary Drugs

MBARARA – The National Drug Authority (NDA) has enrolled countrywide trainings on local leaderships to track fake veterinary drugs on market.

During the meeting on Friday, Dr Muhindo Jeanne, the head of Veterinary at NDA said the meeting is intended to make sure that the population and animals’ access good quality medicines and drugs.

“When NDA was established, we were given the mandate to ensure the availability of quality, safe and effective medicines for both humans and animals. So today we are calling you as stakeholders to find solutions on how best we can serve the population of Uganda.” Muhindo explained

Kiiza Kenneth, the acting NDA South Western Regional Manager says the trainings target veterinary departments to ensure safe drug applications on animals.

“Because this is a cattle corridor, we are doing trainings and sensitization of different stakeholders in relation to national use of veterinary drugs. We go to a district and move to a sub county where we train the LC III Chairpersons, the Mayors, and a few farmers. we would have trained very many people but because of the Covid-19 restrictions on gatherings, we train only 20 people such that those ones can act as our ambassadors,” says Kiiza.

Among the districts that have received the trainings so far include; Kasese, Mbarara, Kanungu, Kisoro Sheema, Mitoma, Rukiga, Rubanda among others.

“We also go to the district and train the District Veterinary Officers (DVO) and his staff, Resident District Commissioner (RDC), Chief Administrative Officers (CAO), District Production Officer in a phased manner and so far, we have been to about 9 districts but the activity is still ongoing” he adds.

During the training at South Western regional offices in Boma cell Mbarara, farmers complained about fake acaricides being sold by unscrupulous people that has discouraged farmers on tick resistance control.

Lt Col Mwesigye James, the Resident City Commissioner (RCC) Mbarara confirmed the most recent one being Tick Burn Spray circulating on the Ugandan market.

Mwesigye told NDA officials that farmers have made several attempts at fighting tick resistance but failed, a reason they now opt for cheap drugs on the open market.

“I am one of the farmers who refused to use larvae but my neighbors used and their animals survived while mine continued dying. Unless we get a way of killing ticks, farmers will continue using fake drugs because they are now hopeless when they continue seeing their animals dying” Mwesigye said.

He also encouraged NDA officials also to do more research on animal vaccinations which farmers have attempted but animals continue dying of foot and mouth disease in the cattle corridor.

“I have seen farmers who have vaccinated but their cows are still dying. Can’t National Drug Authority and the Ministry of Agriculture select some few farms and work on them using these three acaricides and if animals don’t die then we shall know that farmers, we are the problem to ourselves” the RCC added.

Mbarara District Veterinary Officer, Dr Bakashaba Andrew reported that the veterinary profession is faced with the challenge of private veterinary practitioners who have commercialized their profession with unwanted habits.

‘’We have all sorts of private veterinary practitioners with all sorts of qualifications in the country. You find someone who completed primary seven is also injecting animals. But as Mbarara district we have decided to have all the private veterinary professionals registered by Uganda Veterinary Board and we follow them up’’ said Bakashaba.

Kiiza Kenneth said the falsified chemicals and fumigants have side effects that include; blindness to the animals, repeat breeding, reduced milk production and accumulation of chemical residues in the animal products that could hence forth affect the quality and price of Uganda’s animal products that is milk and meat at both national and international level.

“It has been reported majority of the farmers who used tick burn purported acaricide faced adverse effects of blindness of the exposed animals, skin reactions on both herds men and animals, itching eyes of herds men, animals’ failure to get pregnant, reduction in milk production’’ said Kiiza

Section 61 of National Drug Authority stipulates a serious criminal responsibility for this offences. Dr. Muhindo confirmed the arrest of a former Buhweju District Veterinary Officer (DVO) and five others in Western Uganda suspected of mixing agrochemicals and fumigants falsifying a veterinary drug named Tick Burn Spray.

“Some of the people have trust in the vets, the pharmacists and the business community partnering in distributing drugs, have their staff who are hoodwinking and getting involved in these bad practices. The operation is on-going until everyone does the right thing” says Muhindo

The suspects include; Kafeero Wilson, his wife Kafeero Olive who were operating a veterinary drug shop called Kobrab Farm supplies in Kabwohe, Sheema Municipality, Kakuru Denis an accountant in one of the pharmacies in Mbarara, Eridadi Tumwebaze the bodaboda cyclist in Rubiri cell Mbarara City, Nuwahereza Bernard the manager of one of the Milk dairies in Sheema and Tumwebaze Godfrey also an employee with one of the Milk dairies in Sheema district.

During the operation, also 95 bottles of 1000ml of Tick Burn Spray and several tick burn spray labels used in labelling the fumigants were recovered.

‘’The counterfeiters do label highly toxic and dangerous chemicals not meant for use on skin of living animals like cattle, goats and human who spray the animals majorly lie in the category of highly concentrated fumigants meant for spraying bedbugs, cockroaches and bats’’ Muhindo said.

She appealed to the general public to be vigilant and report any suspected counterfeits and any other drug related advance effect, product quality efficacy issues to National Drug Authority or to the district veterinary offices.

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