Uganda launches new list of antibiotics, updates HIV, cancer, TB medicines

Uganda launches new list of antibiotics, updates HIV, cancer, TB medicines
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The Ministry of Health has launched the Essential Medicines and Health Supplies List for Uganda 2016 and its Clinical Guidelines for 2016 to include new recommendations on which antibiotics to use for common infections and which to use for the most serious conditions. New drugs for HIV, hepatitis C, tuberculosis, and leukemia have also been added to the list.

Speaking after the launch in Kampala today, the Minister of Health Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng revealed that the updated list adds 30 medicines for HIV, hepatitis C, tuberculosis and leukaemia for adults and 25 for children, and specifies new uses for 9 already-listed products, bringing the total to 433 drugs.

“Safe and effective medicines are an essential part of any health system,” stated Hon. Aceng on Tuesday. “The regular update of treatment and dispensing guidelines and essential medicines lists is one of the key interventions in the Government of Uganda’s Health Sector Development Plan 2015-2020, aimed at promoting the appropriate use of health products and technologies.”

“The Uganda Clinical Guidelines will help in achieving these standards by presenting updated, practical, and useful information on the diagnosis and management of common conditions in Uganda.”

Dr. Aceng also highlighted that the Essential Medicines and Health Supplies List for Uganda 2016 was realigned with World Health Organisation’s Essential Medicines List 2015.

“The Essential Medicines and Health Supplies List, harmonized with the Uganda Clinical Guidelines, will provide a rational basis for an efficient procurement and supply system that ensures the availability of safe, efficacious, quality medicines and health supplies, for all levels of health care.”

Oncology and Palliative care have also been added to the Uganda Clinical Guidelines.

New child-friendly formulations for tuberculosis, leukaemia and pain relievers have also been included. Several new drugs such as two oral cancer treatments and a new pill for hepatitis C which combines two medicines, also form part of the list.

“USAID’s Uganda Health Supply Chain Project supported the Ministry of Health to develop and print Essential Medicines and Health Supplies List, harmonized with the Uganda Clinical Guidelines,” said Michelle Lang-Ali, Deputy Director USAID Health and HIV/AIDS Office. “These two tools are vital for improving the quality of clinical care, including diagnosis and prescription of medication. We have, through the generosity of the American people also procured health commodities that have contributed significantly  to improving the quality of life of people living with HIV/AIDS, reduced mortality due to malaria, and increased the opportunity for property diagnosis.”

Vivian Nakalika Sserwanja, spokesperson of the Ministry of Health said the government is stocking all the products and will ensure they are available in all health facilities in the country.

“It is our hope that everybody complies because we believe it their responsibility as medics to put the interests of patients first.”

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