Nuriat, a Pharmacy technician in TASO Entebbe, is one of the recipients of the individual recognition from the Uganda National Drug Authority (NDA) due to her accurate and timely reporting on drug safety also known as pharmacovigilance.
She became interested in pharmacovigillance because of the increased number of clients registering side effects after they received a new brand of the drug regimen they were on. Rather than continue to tell the clients to simply swallow the drugs until they got used to them, she and a few other colleagues began documenting the different cases they registered at the clinic.
One of the cases she recalls is that of a male client who had been swallowing a particular drug for 5 years. He was doing well until the brand was changed. He reported drowsiness to the point of falling off his bed at night. the drowsiness made it difficult for him to wake up early to go to work and this was affecting his ability to earn a living. He was newly married and his bride was not willing to live with someone who was always drowsy and unable to provide for his family.
Through counseling, the client shared that in order to keep his relationship and job, he stopped taking his drugs regularly thus affecting his level of adherence. The counseling and medical teams quickly took up his case, Nuriat, as the technical person, documented it and shared it with the NDA.
She says that many clients might be facing several adverse effects and so they should feel comfortable enough to share their concerns. This is especially so during this time when many people living with HIV are being transitioned onto the best drugs for them and receiving medication to prevent Tuberculosis.
Nuriat advises that special attention is given to those who have been on long term treatment. She recommends that one of the questions they are asked during any contact visit is “How are the drugs treating you?”
Nuriat carries out regular Continuous Medical Education sessions at her workplace, for the various stakeholders, to ensure that they learn about pharmacovigilance. Pharmacovigilance is one of the strategies to end AIDS by 2030.
Besides her appreciation to NDA for recognizing her efforts, she would like to share that the NDA Med Safety App has made her work quite easy and can be used by anyone.
Congratulations Nuriat. People living with HIV and their families are in safe hands.