Drug Authority to set the pace for Drug Safety

Uganda National Drug Authority (NDA) is to take the lead in enhancing drug safety in the country. The Authority on Wednesday revealed plans to fully automate the process of collecting safety reports on drugs and as well detect emerging safety signals since all drugs present distinct risks hence the need to continuously monitor their performance.

This was during a stakeholders meeting on drug safety (pharmacovigilance) hosted by NDA during which safety reports, key action areas and emerging safety signals were discussed. This year’s theme is “recognizing the growing contribution of patients in drug safety monitoring and reporting of drug side effects”

Dr. David Nahamya who is NDA’s Executive Director said patients have overtime made enormous contributions towards understanding of their drug safety experience especially during the two-year Corona Virus Pandemic. He underscored the importance of encouraging patients to report their experience with medicines by generating convenient avenues.

“It needs concerted efforts of all stakeholders especially from the health workers, most patients out there are not cognizant of the issues involved in drug safety. I applaud the role played by the health workers, we do not take it for granted,” he said

Dr. Nahamya furthermore indicated the need to strengthen collaborations with stakeholders including health professionals, drug manufacturers, ministry of health and patients not forgetting the policy making arms of government to shape the conversation on drug safety.

Dr. Charles Ayume who is head of the Parliamentary Health Committee said the move to equip patients with the right information is a notable step in the right direction towards demystifying misconceptions associated with adverse drug effects among communities. “Patients need to understand how and where they can seek redress because many people would blame the adverse effects on witch craft and go to traditional herbalists,” he stated

“And we all know that one in so many patients will get an adverse reaction thus the need to have such mechanisms to enable people report their experiences with drugs. For example during the COVID-19 pandemic there was a lot of misinformation flying around.” he added

The NDA has seen her capacity in the pharmacovigilance area increase nearly by 3 times owing to use of toll free hotlines, electronic reporting portals and USSD messaging platforms.

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