The National Drug Authority (NDA) is investigating how eight private hospitals and clinics came to sell counterfeit hepatitis B vaccines in Mbarara, Kampala and Mbale.
As inquiries proceed, the authority has asked the public to remain calm awaiting further advice. Amos Atumanya, the NDA regulatory officer who led the three-week preliminary investigation, told journalists yesterday that the fake vaccines are allegedly manufactured by the Serum Institute of India.
“We got our first complaint from Mbarara. This person got the fake labels on Mbarara street and was able to inform our regional office,” Atumanya told journalists at NDA offices in Kampala. “From that tip, we investigated hepatitis B vaccines used within Mbarara and when we found initial information, we expanded it to other parts of the country.”
More counterfeits were then seized at immunization camps in Mbale central market that were being run by suspicious individuals, and another by Sanyu Medical Centre in Katabi, Entebbe.
Affected health facilities are UMC Victoria hospital Bukoto; Mbarara Community hospital, Devine Mercy, Mayanja Memorial hospital, Family Doctors’ clinic Ntungamo, Mbarara City clinic, Malcom Health Care Kisaasi and Kampala Medical Chambers along Buganda road.
Hellen Ndagije, the NDA director product safety, said the investigating team first operated under cover.
“At first, we thought it was something small in Mbarara but later agreed to move elsewhere, and as well inform the media about these hospitals and clinics,” Ndagije said.
This vaccine is administered to immunise against hepatitis B, a deadly virus that causes potentially fatal liver disease and inflammation of the liver. Health ministry figures show that more than 3.5 million Ugandans are living with chronic hepatitis B infection.
From the 2005 screening across the country, the highest prevalence was recorded in Karamoja (23.9%); West Nile (18.5%), and Western region (10.0%). Lowest incidence was in Central (6%) and South Western (3.8%).
There are various types of hepatitis viruses; A, B, C, D and E but B is the most prevalent in Uganda. Several hepatitis B vaccine brands are approved for supply in Uganda from various manufacturers, including Serum Institute of India.
The Serum brand, according to Ndagije, is available in only two registered pack sizes; 1ml ampoules and 10ml multi-dose vials. Norvik Enterprises Ltd located along Bombo road in Kampala are the only approved importer.
The 1ml pack supplied to private concerns can be identified by a white label with two green bands, while the 10ml vial to government facilities is identified by a white label with two purple bands at the top and bottom parts of the labels, respectively.
The government vaccines also bear the words: “Government of Uganda, Not for Sale”.
Ndagije explained that the genuine 10ml vial also has batch numbers, manufacturing and expiry dates with a shelf life of three years.
“Some of the fake vaccines were found with no manufacturing dates while others had four-year expiry dates. In other cases, the shelf life showed two years and below instead of three years,” Ndagije said, adding that markings on the vial would also easily be rubbed off.
All facilities found with fake vaccines had bought from unlicensed dealers [...]
National Police Commissioner General Khehla Sitole has called for calm and tolerance in Umlalazi, Eshowe, in KwaZulu-Natal following violent protests.
Hundreds of residents went on the rampage after a man was shot dead on the Gqobhokani farm.
According to police, on Wednesday two young men, one of them being 30-year-old Spamandla Xulu, were fishing at a dam on the Gqobhokani farm.
The men were confronted by a security guard who requested that they leave. An altercation ensued which led to the guard allegedly fatally shooting Xulu. The second man escaped uninjured.
The security guard has since been arrested on a charge of murder and is currently in police custody.
“The man suspected of killing Mr Xulu has been arrested and members of the community should allow the law to take its course,” General Sitole said.
Community members took to the streets initially setting tyres alight on the R66 road and later burning down the Gqobhokani farm house, his sugarcane plantation as well as at least two neighbouring plantations.
“Destroying property is no solution to any problem but rather it is a crime which is punishable by law. Furthermore, it serves to neither help nor corrects any situation,” said General Sitole.
He has tasked the Provincial Commissioner to mobilise an investigative task team to look into the burning of the farmhouse and farms and bring those responsible to book as “such behaviour is criminal and unacceptable”.
Members of the Public Order Police Unit, Tactical Response Team and members of the local police stations have been mobilised to stabilise the area.
Robert Mugabe ruled Zimbabwe from independence in the 1980s until he stepped down under pressure from the military last year.
Zimbabwe’s former president Robert Mugabe says he never thought the country’s new leader Emmerson Mnangagwa would turn against him.
Mugabe ruled Zimbabwe from independence in the 1980s until he stepped down under pressure from the military last year.
Speaking during a press conference on Thursday night, Mugabe described his removal as a “coup”.
He says Mnangagwa assumed the presidency illegally.
“I don’t hate Emmerson. I brought him into government. I want to work with him, but he must be proper. He is improper where he is, illegal.”
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