The National Drug Authority Executive Director, Dr David Nahamya, has met with the Katikkiro of Buganda Kingdom, Charles Peter Mayiga, and other kingdom officials to discuss public health.
Speaking at the meeting held at Lubiri Mengo, Dr Nahamya recognized the key role Buganda Kingdom plays in mobilizing communities to support issues of national importance.
He noted that this is part of the reasons they seek to partner with Buganda Kingdom in order to address some of the challenges the country is facing such as irrational drug use, drug and substance abuse, drug hawking, unauthorized herbal medicine with unethical drug promotions which all threaten public health.
“Through you, we would like to have Ssabasajja Kabaka of Buganda, Ronald Muwenda Mutebi 11, become a champion in promoting safe use of drugs. Having His Majesty, the Kabaka, as a Safe Drug Use Champion would be invaluable in our cause given his significant unifying and fatherly role of guiding people. This would greatly help NDA achieve its mandate of assuring that Buganda people and the entire population of Uganda have access to safe, quality and efficacious medicines, both traditional and conventional,” Nahamya said.
NDA is seeking a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Kingdom to enable them work together to improve the quality of herbal medicines in Buganda.
“With a partnership in place, NDA can work with your Ministry of Culture and any other delegated teams to undertake trainings for herbalists, support those involved in herbal medicines to access technical support on compliance to current good manufacturing practices and assisting herbal drugs manufacturers/dealers in having notified products on the market which will enhance their knowledge and quality of their products,” he said.
According to the ministry of Health, over 60% of the Ugandan population uses herbal medicine as the first remedy.
To promote and integrate traditional medical practices in health system, NDA came up with measures of ensuring the safety and efficacy of all herbal medicine on the Ugandan market because the more herbals become profitable the more wrong elements can easily take advantage of the unsuspecting population by hawking unsafe and ineffective medicines.
In his turn, Katikkiro Mayiga welcomed the idea saying: “Your coming here is important, the idea of an MoU with NDA is very welcome. We have a modality of working with people and working with NDA is a good idea and we shall see how we can cooperate on working with you in public health.”
“When you talk about health, you talk about drugs, and if you don’t take the right drugs, you can even die. Therefore, NDA coming here is significant and directly related and important to the lives of our people,” he added.
On the issue of traditional herbs or herbal medicine, the Katikkiro tasked NDA to write to and support these innovators, and ascertain how they come up with the different medicines.
“So you write to these innovators.How do they get to know about the leaves that cure different diseases? I think we need to support them, so that we can use them with out fear of adverse after effects. During the pandemic, people were taking all sorts of concoctions that could ‘cure’ COVID-19. I saw a lady (a businesswoman) telling people about a certain concoction that can cure Covid-19, I said this should stop because she is not a scientist.”
He went on: “We need to do more research to establish the ingredients in the number of the herbs that are being administered. I think many of you could be using herbal toothpaste properly packaged with Ingredients which are ascertainable. We need to move in that direction. We shouldn’t be discouraging the traditional medicine people, we should support them.”
NDA Public Relations Manager, Abiaz Rwamwiri, appreciated the role played by Buganda Kingdom in mobilizing communities to support the issues of national importance.
“We know how influential the Kabaka of Buganda has been in mobilizing his people around health issues including immunization and blood donation. We hope that this opportunity helps NDA to achieve its mandate,” he said.