Minister to Fast Track NDA Transformation

Dr Chris Baryomunsi, the minister of state for health in charge of general duties, has promised to fast track the transformation of the National Drug Authority (NDA) from a drug and pharmaceuticals regulatory authority into a food and medicines regulatory authority.

“Currently, the NDA ensures that human and animal drugs and pharmaceuticals are safe but there’s a process to change the 1993 NDA Act to expand NDA’s mandate to include ensuring food safety. I have promised the NDA board that before the ninth parliament is dissolved, this process will have been completed,” Baryomunsi said during his visit to the NDA offices, on April 9, to familiarise himself with the work there.

Baryomunsi said that food safety, which is currently ensured by the Food and Safety Commission, is important because unsafe food exacerbates Uganda’s disease burden.

“The recent typhoid outbreak arose out of people eating unsafe food,” Baryomunsi said.

The Daily Monitor also on April 9 reported that food sold and eaten in Kampala had unsafe levels of lead, which is associated with liver diseases. Baryomunsi also said that health sector laws and policies were under review to ensure that Ugandans get “decent and satisfying service.”

The Public Health Act and the NDA Act are some of the laws set to be reviewed. Policies that demoralise health workers are also set to be reviewed.

“Health workers have revealed, when I have talked to them, that they would rather work in a system where they can work across the country. Currently, when a health worker is recruited by a district, say Kanungu, they can only work in that district. If the health worker wanted to work in Arua, they would have to resign their job in Kanungu and apply to work in Arua. This demotivates workers and some resign, leaving the system,” Baryomunsi said.

He said a system that would allow a health worker to practice in any district of Uganda once recruited by another district was in the works. He also said that remuneration revision was in the works.

Source : The Observer

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