Lawmakers on parliament’s HIV/AIDS committee have lashed out at officials of national drug authority (NDA) for concealing from the public that farmers have been using ARVs for fattening and treating animals for ten years, saying the concealment could explain the increase cases of liver diseases in Uganda.
Concerns by MPs followed a revelation by the national drug authority – NDA that they first received reports that farmers are using drugs in their animals in 2013 and there was a research conducted in 2014, but this information wasn’t made public until in April 2023 when Makerere university published its research warning about ARVs use animals.
information before the committee indicates that the research was conducted in Wakiso districts where 23 samples of chicken tissue were taken and 30 samples of chicken feed were evaluated. Amos Amanya, a senior inspector of drugs at NDA informed the committee that the use of ARVs in livestock farming is not a standard or recognized practice and is potentially dangerous, attributing the increased use of ARVs in animals to local beliefs, misconceptions or other motivations.
According to the NDA, ARVs are used by farmers to treat African swine fever in pigs and Newcastle disease in poultry. They warned that misuse of antiretroviral drugs may contribute to the development of resistant viral strains in bodies of the people and make it difficult for ARVs to work on such people when they happen to need them.
However, legislators on the HIV committee led by Jenifer Alanyo (UPDF rep) castigated NDA for concealing such information and also rejected arguments fronted by NDA that when some drugs are consumed by animals, their effects on hum life is minimized during the cooking and the liver that works to reduce drug toxicity in human bodies.
Polycarp Ogwari (Agule county) also blamed NDA for hiding this information from the public and confessed that he knows a veterinary doctor in Pallisa district who uses ARVs to fatten his cattle and trades them off at a higher price.
NDA also revealed that some HIV/AIDS patients have a tendency of registering at more than one treatment center, while some farmers are accused of befriending health workers as means to access the ARVs for animals
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