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WHO approves Uganda to make HIV, Malaria kits

Friday October 13 2023
ugkits

Health officials pose for a picture during the launch of the RDT kits and the mass HIV testing campaign in Kampala, Uganda on October 12, 2023. PHOTO | STEPHEN OTAGE | DAILY MONITOR

By Daily Monitor

Uganda's Ministry of Health has revealed that the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Uganda Virus Research Institute have given approval to Microheam Scientifics and Medical Supplies to start manufacturing HIV/Aids and Malaria Rapid Diagnostic Kits beginning November.

While launching the Wondfo HIV/Aids self-testing kits in Kampala on Thursday, Health Minister Dr Jane Ruth Aceng said the approval of local production of the kits is another remarkable achievement in the prevention and control of HIV/Aids.

She added that it’s an additional tool to ensure routine testing and access to services, especially for those who have been lagging behind.

Read: Aids killed one person per minute last year, UN report says

“Uganda has been working with partners to scale up HIV prevention and treatment through bio-medical interventions, the ABC strategy, ARV treatment services, and safe male circumcision,” Dr Aceng said.

“The 2022 global update report shows that HIV-related new infections and death dropped to 54,000 and 17,000, respectively, which was a remarkable achievement and launching the kit means we shall now be offering high quality results,” she added.

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She further said the approval of the local manufacture of the test-kits is in line with the WHO and AU policy of promoting local manufacture of medical supplies within Africa, urging the company which will be manufacturing the kits to ensure that they have the required funding to meet the demand for the kits that will be consumed not only in Uganda but marketed to neighbouring countries as well.

Dr Henry Mwebesa, the director general of Uganda Health Services, advised companies which have been importing the test kits, to start buying the locally manufactured kits because Uganda Virus Research Institute and the National Drug Authority have conducted studies on their efficacy and acceptability, which have yielded positive results.

Read: Museveni: HIV killing 17,000 Ugandans annually

The guidelines for testing kits have also been drawn.

“All kits in the country should go through evaluation. We are working with the National Drug Authority to get rid of quack HIV kits which give false confidence. We want to go to the community and eliminate fake HIV kits. Why go for kits that are not validated in the country?” he said.

Cedric Akwesigye, the CEO Microheam Scientifics and Medical Supplies, said they will be commissioning the company in Ntinda city suburb on November 24. 

He said the company, WHO certified, will be able to produce 80 million test kits for HIV/Aids every year and another 50 million for Malaria to substitute the expensive imports that the country has been depending on.  
 

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