21 March 2019

Uganda: Government Asked to Use Chips to Immunise Newborns

Photo: Pixabay
(File photo).

Kampala — The government yesterday said with the improving technology, a policy will be formulated in the near future to allow chips inserted in newborns in the fight against diseases.

Mr Godfrey Mutabazi, the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) executive director, called upon education institutions to integrate information communication technology in the teaching and learning to enable research which contributes to the country's economic development.

"With this technology now, so many ideas are coming up. At birth, most countries have got a policy on immunisation where they prevent some diseases. In the near future, there will be some policies that will require human beings at birth to have a chip in their bodies to prevent some of the diseases such as ebola, polio but also to correct some of the DNA defectives so that people can live longer," Mr Mutabazi said.

He added: "This is not a question of whether it will come or not. It is when it will come. So many universities in America are making good research on that. As we speak now there are other chips that are available and functional in some parts of the world. Remember with this 5G, many devices are going to flood the market. Government cannot miss that opportunity to have a chip in humans that will better management and better life."

Mr Mutabazi was speaking at the annual conference on higher education organised by National Council for Higher Education under the theme 'mainstreaming information and communication technology in research, higher education delivery and management.'

Customised medicine

In his presentation, Dr Johnblack Kabukye, a medical informatics at Uganda Cancer Institute, said research is already being done to customise medicine, a development he believes will enable them treat people effectively and reduce on drug wastage. "What is going on in research is the idea of precision medicine so that we customise medicine for you depending on your unique characteristics. People are trying to understand the differences at a genetic level and then they can find a drug that treats that particular person. This has been enabled by the computing capabilities which were not there in the past," Dr Kabukye said.

He added: "What people are thinking is that in not so distant future, you will have to get your DNA sequence when you are born and keep this information. You could order and keep it at home. Eventually, you will have it on your flash, and move in a hospital and give it to them and they will analyse it and decide which drug to give you. You will find people walk in hospital with a chip just as you can pay by tapping on a card or your phone. Next time it is going to be genetic information on your phone."

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