On 26 February 2020, during a one – day stakeholder meeting organised by Uganda National Drug Authority (NDA), TASO (U) Ltd received an Award as one of the best performing Private Not For Profit (PNFP) organisations that have done a lot in the field of pharmacovigilance.
What is pharmacovigilance? Pharmacovigilance also known as drug safety, it the practice of monitoring the effects of medical drugs after they have been licensed for use especially in order to identify and evaluate previously unreported adverse reactions (Oxford dictionary)
Of the eleven (11) TASO Centers of Excellence, three (3) were specifically mentioned. These are TASO Entebbe, TASO Masaka and TASO Mulago. Two TASO staff Ms. Nuriat Namatovu (TASO Entebbe) and Dr. Berna Nagirinya (TASO Masaka) were also recognised for their vigilance in reporting any unusual side effects they encounter during service delivery.
The Uganda National Drug Authority (NDA) is mandated to ensure the availability at all times of safe, efficacious and cost-effective drugs to the entire population of Uganda. To achieve this objective, NDA has established a pharmacovigilance system to continuously monitor adverse drug effects on the market.
As a means of implementing one of the pharmacovigilance strategic key priorities for enhancing the dissemination of safety information, increase transparency and feedback to the relevant stakeholders, the meeting was organized for key stakeholders on the at the Golf Course Hotel.
The Guest of Honor was Dr. Diana Atwiine(Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health) represented by Dr. Neville Oteba (Commissioner Department of Pharmaceuticals and Natural medicines, Ministry of Health).
During its feedback session about the unmet need for pharmacovigilance in the country, NDA highlighted the following;
- Africa as a continent had only contributed 1% of data about drug side effects.
- Uganda as a nation had not done much and yet these events are ongoing which was evidenced by 3 testimonials given by people who had encountered such situations.
- There is a need to strengthen pharmacovigilance and also obtain statistics to support policies.
- Seven out of ten (7/10) side –effects are avoidable.
Despite the small numbers reported, it was noticed that some health workers, Public Health Facilities and Private Not For Profit (PNFP) Organisations had gone an extra mile to make sure that they report any side effects reported by their clients to NDA for quick action.
During the same meeting NDA launched the Med Safety App through which the public can report any unusual side effects experiences from any medication they are taking. the App can be downloaded off Google Play store and the Apple store.
Report from Dr. Priscilla Ajambo, TASO Prevention, Care and Treatment Advisor.
Edited by: Sylvia Matovu.