MPs want private clinics to stop Hepatitis B vaccination

GYAGENDA KABUUBI

Members of the Parliamentary committee on Health have directed an immediate stop in Hepatitis B vaccination by private health facilities.  This follows the discovery of counterfeit drugs on the market.

On Tuesday, the National Drug Authority (NDA) sounded alarm bells, telling the nation that a number of privately owned health facilities were administering fake vaccines on unsuspecting Ugandans.

The drugs regulator said it had impounded the vaccines from eight private health facilities both in Kampala and upcountry including Family Doctors Clinic in Ntungamo; UMC Hospital, Bukoto; Malcolm Health Care, Kisaasi and Kampala Medical Chambers.
The others were Mbarara Community Hospital, Devine Mercy, Mbarara City Clinic and Mayanja Memorial Hospital.

During the committee meeting on Wednesday, several MPs notably Godfrey Macho (Busia Municipality), Beatrice Rwakimari (Ntungamo Woman), Mbwatekamwa Gaffa (Kasambya) and Catherine Atwiikire Ndamira (Kabale Woman) among others suggested that committee directs the Ministry of Health to halt the entire exercise of Hepatitis B vaccination.

But committee chairman Michael Bukenya (Bukuya) disagreed, advising that the directive to stop should only be limited to private health facilities.

“Private health facilities should stop vaccinating and the public should only use public health facilities,” said Dr. Bukenya.

This was after the NDA board chairman Dr Medard Bitekyerezo who led the NDA team to the committee meeting said that drugs in government facilities are genuine.
“The public should continue with their vaccinations in the public health facilities,” said Dr. Bitekyerezo.
He also said that NDA is investigating the source of the drugs currently circulating on the Ugandan market.

MPs wondered whether they NDA had tested the impounded drugs to find out their chemical composition and the effect on people.
Bitekerezo said that NDA found the “fake” vaccines on the market and was in the process of testing the drugs to ascertain their chemical composition.

“The testing process has begun on the fake drugs we confiscated, in the meantime, vaccination in private facilities should be stopped,” Bitekerezo said.

The former Mbarara Municipality MP said, the fake vaccine is labelled as Seramu Institute of India Vaccine, and is in packages of 10 ml.
Bitekyerezo said, NDA has not yet traced the origin of the drug and how it entered the country.