Uganda bids to host Africa drugs agency

President Museveni meets members lobbying to host the African Medicine Agency at State House, Entebbe, on March 17, 2022. PHOTO/PPU 

What you need to know:

  • President Museveni says Uganda already has experience in manufacturing drugs and has invested heavily in the medical sector.

President Museveni has said Uganda has invested in the development and manufacture of many medicines over the years and, therefore, has the required capacity to host the African Medicine Agency (AMA).
According to the President, Uganda already has experience in manufacturing Aids drugs for the last 10 years under Cipla Quality Chemical Industries Limited.

“For us we are moving on with what we call the pathogenic economy. The issue is whether Africa will move with us. We started long time ago with Aids drugs. Why should foreigners make money out of our sicknesses and not us?” he wondered
The President was yesterday at State House Entebbe meeting a team of African Union (AU) members who are on a verification mission of countries bidding to host the AMA headquarters.

Uganda is among the eight African countries, including Rwanda, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco, bidding to host the Agency. The new agency will provide a streamlined regulatory authority that would improve quality medicines access, and combat substandard imports.
 The President said Uganda has invested heavily in the medical sector, with more infrastructure coming up given its history with pandemics such as HIV/Aids, Ebola, Marburg and now Coronavirus.

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“We have dealt with all these epidemics and now our people have the capacity. They are highly educated and qualified human resource. Uganda is now at stage six in two of the vaccine developments. We are moving and we shall continue moving,” he said.

President Museveni called for Africa to work in a more collaborative way to produce a vaccine.
“We are already in advanced staged in what we are doing. For example, the Uganda Virus Institute was actually the one which worked on the vaccine for Ebola. We would want our brothers to work with us.. if one produces this reagent, others can produce different one. There are also special mice which are used in experiments which need to be worked on. We can work in a collaborative way depending on who can do what best. East Africa should work as a team because it’s a big effort,” he said.

The AU team was led by Prof Aggrey John Douglas Ambali from the AU Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD).
According to Dr Diana Atwine, the permanent secretary in Ministry of Health, the AU delegation, which arrived in the country on Wednesday, yesterday did the bid opening for Uganda and are now in the processes of verification of documents according to their questionnaire.

On November 1, 2021, Uganda became the 26th AU member state to sign the treaty for the establishment of African Medicines Agency (AMA) at the AU Commission in Addis Ababa.
AMA aspires to enhance capacity of state parties and AU recogniSed Regional Economic Communities (RECs) to regulate medical products in order to improve access to quality, safe and efficacious medical products on the continent. AMA shall build on the efforts of the African Medicines AMA will be the second specialiSed health agency of the African Union after the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.