BY RICHARD DRASIMAKU
ARUA: Thursday, August 12, 2021
The Democratic Party leaders in Arua City have urged the government to stop wiring money raised under the Covid-19 Relief Fund to individuals and instead use it to urgently scale up the production of Covidex, Uganda’s newly discovered herbal medicine for viral disease management.
They said this will ensure availability of the herbal remedy to the citizens so that anyone who falls sick is instantly attended to before complications set in.
“We must ensure that Covidex is abundant and within reach. The production should be increased so that when people fall sick of Covid-19, they can easily get the medicine,” Christopher Afayoa, the DP finance secretary for Arua City said during a weekly press briefing.
He said such a strategy would enable quicker opening of schools for the children as well as unlocking other sectors of the economy.
He was backed by Fadhil Lemeriga, the DP chairman for Arua and spokesperson for Northern region who rallied Ugandans to be patriotic and supportive of the scientists who are turning the country into a power for making medicines.
“I thank the scientists for this wonderful invention of medicine. We also support the Kiira Motors Vehicle project that produced for us an electric car and a bus. You cannot have many universities and no innovations,” he asserted.
Lemeriga said Ugandans should be proud of the scientific breakthroughs by their own scientists and give them the necessary morale booster.
“As you know most of the western medicines are made from extracts from plants, so, Ugandans should be proud of these local discoveries,” he added.
Invented under the watch of Prof. Patrick Ogwang, who heads the Pharmacy department at the Pharm-Biotechnology and Traditional Medicine Centre at Mbarara University, the Uganda National Drug Authority on June 29, 2021 cleared Covidex for use in the management of viral infections including Covid-19, the disease caused by the Coronavirus.
However the DP politicians expressed their displeasure at the timing of the legal contests over the intellectual property rights for the invention despite the fact that Uganda has not been enforcing such rights for pharmaceutical companies making generic medicines in the country.
“Court cases cannot help a situation where people are falling sick and dying of Covid-19. First make the medicine available, then you can embark on your litigation later,” Lemeriga reasoned.