Entebbe, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Cabinet has approved the proposed amendments to the National Drug Policy and Authority Act, creating a new body responsible for overseeing the quality of agricultural and veterinary health inputs. This role was formerly under the National Drug Authority (NDA).
This decision was made following a Ministry of Health request to make changes to the law, which creates the NDA responsible for overseeing all health-related inputs, including humans, agriculture, and veterinary.
According to Chris Baryomunsi, the minister for Information and National Guidance, the Ministry’s request has been before the cabinet for more than three sittings, until Monday when the decision was taken.
The amendments to the law have been worked on by the Ministries of Agriculture and Health with a view to regulating this sector more effectively. There have been concerns about how the NDA has been performing its work, hence the need for a new body to oversee these areas.
The NDA will remain under the Ministry of Health and will focus solely on regulating human medicines, vaccines, medical devices, public health products, nutritional supplements, and any other human health pharmaceutical supplies.
The new body, named the Food, Animal, and Plant Health Authority, will be under the Ministry of Agriculture with the mandate to regulate food, veterinary medicines, vaccines, devices, agrochemicals, and all therapeutic products for plant and animal health.
Minister Baryomunsi explained that the process to amend this law has taken many years, and this decision is aimed at strengthening the regulation of veterinary drugs and vaccines to give plant and animal health its due prominence.
The Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS), which performs similar roles, will continue its mandate over any other products on the market except those under the NDA, the new body, or any other specialized agency established by law.
The decision to create this new body comes at a time when the government is rationalizing many of its agencies, which are duplicating roles to cut expenditure, but the Minister urged that this was an exceptional case.