Hospital defends self on fake Hepatitis B vaccines

Sunday March 18 2018

Hospital defends self fake Hepatitis B vaccines

A health worker takes blood samples from residents during the launch of the emergency vaccination campaign against Hepatitis B in Dokolo Town recently. PHOTO BY BILL OKETCH 

By MISAIRI THEMBO KAHUNGU

Univic Medical Centre commonly known as UMC Victoria Hospital, a health facility in Kampala, has refuted the claim by the National Drug Authority (NDA) that they were administering fake Hepatitis B vaccines to clients.
On Tuesday, NDA warned that there were fake Hepatitis B vaccines on the market and are being administered in the immunisation camps.

The NDA’s director of product safety, Ms Helen Ndagi, said the fake products were found in eight hospitals and clinics in Kampala, Mbale, Entebbe and Mbarara towns.
According to Ms Ndagi, the affected facilities are Mbarara Community Hospital, Devine Mercy Clinic, UMC hospital-(Bukoto), Malcolm Health Care (Kisaasi) and Kampala Medical Chambers.

UMC defends self
However, in a statement issued on March 13, by Dr Edrin Jjuuko, the chief medical officer at UMC Victoria Hospital, said their drugs and vaccines are of international standards, authentic and properly procured. “Our services are to international standards therefore all medicines dispensed at our hospitals are rigorously pre-tested for authenticity and effectiveness as we strive to deliver internationally bench-marked health services to our customers,” he said.
He added: “While it is unfortunate that we have recently been misrepresented on some media platforms, we wish to reassure the general public that all drugs & vaccines that are used by UMC Victoria Hospital are authentic, procured through the right channels and approved by the relevant authorities.”

Dr Jjuuko said the hospital uses internationally approved parameters for verifying the effectiveness of the vaccine.
“UMC Victoria Hospital remains steadfast in its objective to delivering quality health services,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Anti-Counterfeit Network (ACN) Africa has tasked government to explain the source of the fake Hepatitis B vaccines and how they were imported into the country.

Speaking at Protea Hotel in Kampala on Friday during a workshop on the withdraw of the Anti-Counterfeit Bill from Parliament, Mr Fred Muwema, the ACN legal and corporate Affairs director, said the Health ministry and different agencies charged with clearing of imported drugs owe Ugandans an answer on the fake vaccines.
“The fake Hepatitis B vaccines scandal places the government in the middle of promotion and fight of counterfeits. If government and its agencies don’t come out to inform us on the matters concerning procurement of the fake vaccines, we shall seek legal redress not only but also on international level,” Mr Muwema said.

He said ACN wants government to explain how many people had been vaccinated with the fake product, how will be monitored for likely side effects and what will be done for the individuals that played part in the procurement and distribution of the vaccines.
Mr Muwema warned that ACN is collecting evidence from across the country and would go to court if the government fails to explain how itself on the matter.

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Clarification.
In a related development the Joint Medical Store (JMS) on Friday issued a statement clarifying that Mayanja Memorial Hospital did not buy the Hepatitis B vaccines in question (10mls from Serum Institute) from their store.

Following guidelines. The JMS statement signed by the executive director, Dr Bildard Baguma, indicated that they purchase their products from suppliers and manufacturers duly authorised by NDA.

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