Health Minister Dr Ruth Aceng along with HCP Dr Diana Atwine visit East Africa Medical Vitals, Africa’s leading latex manufacturing company. (courtesy)

Kampala | RedPepperDigital – Dr Ruth Aceng, Minister of Health, called for replacing imported products with health services and using locally produced products available in the market.

Aceng said he brings great pride to the country to have an investment of this magnitude: “We will say it with pride because it is in Uganda and made by Ugandans. We are extremely happy to make sure that we manufacture gloves in the country. ”

The minister made the remarks on Friday 1st October 2020 during a spot check at East Africa Medical Vitals; a latex manufacturing company, the only one in Africa to manufacture surgical gloves and one of three on the continent to produce examination gloves.

She further said that the investment will go to great lengths to ensure that Uganda exports gloves to ensure that the profits are reinvested in the country and also to attract foreign investment in the same country.

Dr Aceng rallied the company to make sure it doubles production so that there is the surplus that can be exported and bring foreign currency back to the country.

Dr Aceng noted that the ministry will market the Ugandan-made gloves worldwide to the extent possible via zoom, as the pandemic has limited overseas travel. She urged the National Medicines Authority to stop outsourcing gloves and buy them locally. She also said they would also be working around the clock to get international approval for the products.

Dr Diana Atwiine who accompanied the Permanent Secretary added her voice on the need for the country to strengthen its capacity to ensure that dependence on imported gloves is reduced. She noted that the country would prioritize locally made products such as medical gloves.

Brian Kavuya, the chief executive of the company, in his remarks to the minister and her team, said the vital signs journey from East Africa began in December 2006 in response to government policy Ugandan Buy Uganda Build Uganda (BUBU), after several feasibility studies which focused on medical gloves.

The National Medicines Authority played a key role in ensuring that compliance with standards and other requirements was done with due diligence in order to find the right human resources, as the field of latex PPE manufacturing was one first in the country at the time and still is. at present. Up to date, the Authority continues to offer its oversight role to ensure that quality products are manufactured. Authorization and marketing authorization for products have also been accelerated by the Authority.

He thanked the shareholders and the board of directors of the company for ensuring that what was envisioned as a dream became a reality. Ben Kavuya; the executive chairman of the company represented the shareholders at the reception.

In his speech, he said that the buy Uganda build Uganda policy is a good policy which compares to the Malaysian model, but which is marred only by bureaucracies in the process of obtaining funding from the Uganda Development Corporation. Bank.

The executive chairman also noted the challenge of raw materials in the form of rubber. A rubber tree takes an average of five years to grow and can be tapped for 25 years.

WHAT HAS BEEN ACHIEVED SO FAR?

A total of $ 12.7 million has been invested in the company so far in a mix of debt and equity, and 200 Ugandans employed, the number is expected to rise to 258 by the end of fiscal 2021 / 22.

The factory has a capacity of 5,000 pieces per hour with a total of 8.6 million pieces per month and 103,000,000 pieces per year, which represents 85% of the glove consumption in Uganda.

The company will expand the production line by USD 3M in five years, which will double the annual production capacity. Powder-free latex and nitryl surgical and examination gloves are produced in the factory, with priority given to the country’s health sector.

He also said the country must transit through the use of powdered gloves which are banned in the US, UK, Germany and other developed European countries.

The director general called on the national drug authority to increase the verification fee for imported surgical gloves from the current 2% to 12% to allow competitiveness in the market.


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