By Our Reporter
The National Drug Authority (NDA) cleared the use of the different Covid-19 vaccines for use on Ugandans without conducting a quality study because Uganda doesn’t have a vaccine testing laboratory at the moment, Dr.Gordon Ssematiko (pictured above), former Executive Secretary at NDA has said.
Ssematiko made the revelation while appearing before the Ad-hoc Committee set up by Parliament to investigate the purported mismanagement of Shs31bn Covid-19 vaccines manufacture by Minister of Science and Technology, Monica Musenero.
He appeared as a witness consultant to give guidance on what NDA requires for a company to manufacture a COVID-19 vaccine in Uganda.
Ssematiko told the Committee that Uganda relied on quality assurance and data collected from laboratories in South Africa, Egypt and Ethiopia because the technology used in the covid jabs was new and Uganda had no expertise to test drugs, but wrote to Government authorizing the use of the vaccines on Ugandans.
“Because Uganda doesn’t have the technical capacity and these are vaccines coming up very fast, there is an association called African Vaccines Agency, member states to which Uganda is a partner you share the skills and facilities like South Africa, Egypt, Ethiopia, you share those facilities and experts and you can do a joint clearance. This was also the same for Ebola,” Ssematiko said.
His remarks were in response to a question posed by Paul Omara (Otuke County) who asked if NDA had given a clearance for Ugandans to receive the Covid-19 vaccines.
Among the items that Ssematiko said would be required for Uganda to manufacture its own Covid-19 jabs was the steady supply of electricity. He added that even without water in office for one hour would make the vaccine more dangerous.
However, he declined thrice to respond to questions posed by MPs on whether Uganda has the capacity to manufacture its own covid vaccines.
It should be recalled that Parliament constituted a Committee to investigate allegations by Yona Musinguzi (Ntungamo Municipality) who tabled documents accusing Minister Musenero of mismanaging money to a tune of Shs31Bn meant for the manufacture of Covid vaccine.