By Alberto Mujeere
Updated at 00:57 GMT on Thursday 28th January, 2021
KAMPALA. President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has said Uganda and Africa must work for self-reliance and avoid waiting for solutions from the West.
Speaking yesterday(Wednesday) at Mulago National Referral Hospital at the launch of clinical trials for a home-grown Covid-19 treatment drug, Museveni said Uganda must break the dependence syndrome and seek its own remedies.
“We shall not accept dependency. You must build an independent Uganda. We are working on the vaccine and treatment by ourselves,” President Museveni said, accompanied by First Lady Janet Kataha.
He added, “I don’t know the problem of Africans. How can you seat here dying while waiting for Europeans to come and help you? This I can’t accept it.”
Museveni congratulated Ugandan scientists for coming up with this treatment solution, saying it validates his push for improved remuneration for these professionals.
“This term of office, one of my seven priorities will be to ensure that scientists are well paid. Even if we don’t have money, our scientists must get enough pay,” he said.
President Museveni has warned government officials against unnecessary bureaucracy
The President warned against unnecessary red-tape in procurement and corruption tendencies which delay execution of important undertakings like this project.
“There are some parasites doing business in the name of procurements but also a lot of corruption in the so called financial controls. The law of procurement should only work for beans but not serious procurement like this one,” Museveni said.
Health Minister, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, said the clinical trial will ensure validation of the drug, enhance its replication and thereafter it will be rolled out for industrial production and public use.
“The product has already gone through quality assurance steps and got all the necessary certificates and approval for use in human beings,” she said.
“The product has been approved by the National Drug Authority, Uganda National Bureau of Standards and the National Council of Science and Technology,” Dr. Aceng added.
She said the country would be kept posted on the findings and the outcome of the studies, before thanking the President and other Ugandans who keep observing SoPs.
The presidential advisor on epidemics, Dr. Monica Musenero, said the researchers were working on even more products to treat viral and bacterial infections.
“I want to thank the team and we are looking forward to more innovative natural products that will make the country proud,” she said.
Present were the Prime Minister, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, Health Ministry PS Dr Diana Atwiine, and a host of scientists from different agencies and institutions.
ABOUT THE DRUG
The drug, UBV-01N, is a product of the Natural Chemotherapeutics Research Institute, anticipated to have antiviral (kill viruses), anti-inflammatory (reduces over reaction of the body to infections) and immunological (directs the immune system in the right direction) abilities.
Other institutions involved in this research are Makerere University School of Public Health, Makerere University Lung Institute, and Mulago Hospital. The research and trials are funded by the government through the Presidential Science Initiative on Epidemics (PRESIDE) and the Ministry of Science and Technology.
For this clinical trial, the drug will be administered to 128 male and female patients who will present Covid-19 symptoms at Mulago Hospital.