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Health Ministry, NDA fail to trace source of illegal Chinese contraceptive pill

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Health Ministry has initiated an extensive awareness campaign to discourage women from using a Chinese contraceptive pill that has been illegally imported into the country.

During a media briefing held alongside the International Family Planning Conference, Dr. Richard Mugahi, the Assistant Commissioner in charge of Reproductive and Infant Health, expressed concern over the pill, which is suspected to have caused the sudden death of Barbara Atwiine at the Uganda Police headquarters in Naguru in March this year.

Despite the media coverage of the dangers of the pill, many unsuspecting women continue to use it due to its perceived convenience.

The Chinese contraceptive pill, packaged with labels and patient information leaflets entirely in Chinese, except for the ingredients levonorgestrel and quinestrol, has gained popularity among women due to its once-a-month dosage.

In response, the Ministry of Health has launched a nationwide information campaign through various communication channels to discourage women from using the pill and promote safer contraceptive methods.

Dr. Mugahi mentioned that they are anticipating a surveillance report from the National Drug Authority (NDA) regarding the origin and distribution of the dangerous drug, which is suspected to increase the risk of cancer. He encouraged the public to report any suspected sellers of the counterfeit pill to the NDA’s pharmacovigilance desk.

URN reached out to the NDA for an update on their surveillance efforts. Abiaz Rwamwiri, the Public Relations Manager, stated that they are still in the process of identifying the channels through which the illicit drug is entering the country. The NDA believes the pill is being sold through a highly secretive syndicate, and efforts are underway to trace its source of supply.

It is worth noting that the NDA initially issued an alert about the illegal contraceptive pill in October 2022. The Ministry of Health’s awareness campaign aims to prevent further harm and protect the well-being of women in Uganda.

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