Veterinary doctors under their umbrella bodies, the Uganda Veterinary Association and Uganda Veterinary Board have welcomed the move by government to create a separate body to take charge of animal medicines.
Addressing journalists on Thursday, Uganda Veterinary Board chairman, Dr.John Nuwagaba said cabinet resolved to form a separate veterinary drug regulatory authority under the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, a move he said will benefit members of the public.
“Cabinet also directed the Attorney General to repeal the current National Drug Policy and Authority Act and the Agriculture ministry to start the process of putting in place a new law to regulate veterinary drugs and other biologicals in the country,”Nuwagaba said.
He noted the move will help streamline and regulate animal medicines and separate them from human medicines.
The National Drug Policy and Authority Act of 1993 is mandated to take charge of medicines for both humans and animals in Uganda.
However, according to Dr. Flugy Mukasa, a member of the Uganda Veterinary Association, the current law empowers the National Drug Authority to monitor the importation, manufacture and distribution of animals drugs without any input of the agriculture ministry where animals fall, a thing h says will now change in the new law.
“The current law has led to stagnation of the animal industry and livestock stock but under the new law, the Agriculture Ministry will be empowered to ensure quality and effective drugs secure for animals. It will strengthen regulation of animal medicines in the country,”Mukasa said.
He noted that in the past, the National Drug Authority was focusing on only human medicines, leaving many veterinary doctors act unprofessional, a thing he said has had an effect on the lives of many Ugandans.
“In past, a veterinary doctor would inject an animal with medicine and a day later, the animal is slaughtered for eating and in the end, the lives of humans who eat the meat is endangered because the law was domiciled in the ministry of health and yet it affects the agriculture ministry in equal sums.”
“Under the new law, veterinary doctors and the ministry of agriculture will be mandated to ensure safe animal products that members of the public consume. It will ensure effective use of drugs on both animals and humans.”
Dr. Sylivia Baluka, the Uganda Veterinary Association president urged veterinary doctors to rise up to the occasion in a bid to save the profession that she said was declining.
“In the animal sector, we have gold that is untapped that we as veterinary doctors must ensure benefits everyone including farmers, animal traders and government by acting professional in whatever we do,”Baluka said.
According to regulations approved by cabinet early this week on veterinary medical products, biological, chemicals and devices government will ensure safe application and use of veterinary inputs along the livestock value chain from production, processing, marketing until the animals reach the market, both local and international.
The regulations will also help in the application of safe veterinary science in regulation of the manufacture, importation, exportation, sale and use of veterinary inputs.