UGANDA – A new organization tasked with monitoring the quality of agricultural and veterinary health inputs has been established after the Ugandan Cabinet approved the proposed changes to the National Drug Policy and Authority Act, a role formerly under the National Drug Authority (NDA).

This decision was taken following a Ministry of Health request to make modifications to the law, which established the NDA accountable for supervising all health-related inputs, including humans, agriculture, and veterinary, to more effectively regulate this industry.

Previously, there have been complaints about how the NDA carries out its duties.

According to Chris Baryomunsi, the Minister for Information and National Guidance, the Ministry’s request has been before the Cabinet for more than three sittings, until recently when the decision was taken.

The NDA will continue to fall under the Ministry of Health and will only regulate pharmaceuticals used for human health, including drugs, vaccines, equipment, supplements, and nutritional items.

The Ministry of Agriculture will oversee the new organization, which will be known as the Food, Animal, and Plant Health Authority, which will have the authority to control food, veterinary medications, vaccines, devices, agrochemicals, and all therapeutic goods for plant and animal health.

According to Minister Baryomunsi, the amendment is the culmination of several years of work with a goal to enhance the control of veterinary medications and vaccinations to give plant and animal health its proper significance.

The Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS), which serves similar roles, will continue its mandate over any other items on the market except those under the NDA, the new organization, or any other specialized agency formed by legislation.

The Cabinet also acceded for the regulator to maintain its oversight over standards in accordance with the law.

The government is currently streamlining several of its agencies by duplicating roles in an effort to reduce spending, but the Minister insisted that this was an exceptional case.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Agriculture, Frank Tumwebaze, noted that there was a need for one agency to deal with all safety aspects of food, animal feed & all animal/plant drug inputs.

He noted that for policy coordination and effective implementation, it was found to be good practice to separate veterinary inputs from human drug inputs.

“So instead of having multiple regulatory agencies for various food safety & drug inputs (animal & plant drugs) regulation, the Cabinet was convinced to have one universal agency for food, animal, plant health/safety regulation as is the practice in many other jurisdictions,” Tumwebaze said.

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