13 December 2012

Uganda: Ssekandi Visits ARVs Plant, to Lobby EAC

Vice President Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi this week pledged to lobby East African countries to purchase Ugandan-made antiretroviral drugs.

Speaking at the end of his two-hour visit to the Luzira-based Quality Chemical Industries, Kiwanuka was surprised at the nature of technology in use at the plant.

"This isn't what I had in mind. This is technology for a developed country, not a developing country like Uganda." Ssekandi said.

The factory owners say the plant has helped reduce the number of Ugandans dying of malaria daily from 400 to 200 - while increasing ARV access to 500,000 Ugandans.

"That has been our biggest contribution to changing lives in Uganda. Our target should be zero," said Emmanuel Katongole, the Chief Executive Officer of Quality Chemical Industries.

Katongole asked Ssekandi to encourage the government to participate in QCIL's plans to start a second plant. The company also plans to start producing a single ARV tablet to ease patients' intake of the drugs. QCIL has already signed up trade partnerships with the Kenya and Rwanda governments, with South Sudan and DR Congo the next targets.

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