In the last quarter of 2015, Dr. Y.K. Hamied, the Global Chairman of Indian pharmaceuticals giant CIPLA was awarded with a Lifetime Achievement Award in Kampala by Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, the Prime Minister of Uganda.
By Dr. AVS Ramesh Chandra
I wish to compliment the ‘New Vision' for bringing out a series of well-written articles in the context of World Hepatitis Day being marked on July 28, 2016, especially the article penned by Gloria Nakajubi titled "Families crumbling under the weight of Hepatitis B" on July 26. This assumes critical significance given the fact that slightly under 10% of Uganda's population is said to be afflicted by this scourge.
In the last quarter of 2015, Dr. Y.K. Hamied, the Global Chairman of Indian pharmaceuticals giant CIPLA was awarded with a Lifetime Achievement Award in Kampala by Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, the Prime Minister of Uganda. This was on the occasion of CIPLA launching the cheapest medication for HIV-AIDS and Hepatitis B & C not just for Uganda but for the other East and South African countries as well. It was heartening for me to note that while Western treatment costs for HIV-AIDS cost $ 60 for daily doses of medication, CIPLA is now able to produce potent medication here in Uganda that costs under US$ 3 per day! CIPLA's state-of-the-art World Health Organization (WHO) - GMP pre-qualified manufacturing plant at Luzira in Uganda is manufacturing high quality Hepatitis-B treatment medication. While accepting his Award, Dr. Hamied assured the Hon. Prime Minister of Uganda that the manufacturing facility will be expanding in Uganda with further investments to ensure the availability of adequate medication for Hepatitis.
The new WHO guidelines (issued 2015) for treatment of Hepatitis could not have come at a better time since they have updated diagnostics and treatment guidelines for Hepatitis-B, simplified diagnostic measures using non-invasive methods, and dispel misperceptions that exist globally between medications used for the treatment of HIV and Hepatitis-B. Offering treatment for HIV-AIDS through ARVs when the real cause of disease is Hepatitis seriously exacerbates the problem, and needs to be addressed urgently.
We at the High Commission of India are very happy to partner with CIPLA and the Uganda Gastro Enterology Society in organizing a Hepatitis Symposium at Hotel Africana to commemorate the World Hepatitis Day on 28 July 2016 at which more than 100 Ugandan doctors will be participating. All of them will take away copies of a Brochure containing important updated diagnostic and treatment guidelines for Hepatitis-B. Contributions from CIPLA and the Indian Association in Uganda as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities have also included free Hepatitis-B and Hepatitis-C screening camps which were conducted at multiple locations in Kampala, and one at Koboko known to be a Hepatitis hot spot.
I once again wish to whole heartedly compliment the ‘New Vision' for the timely focus on the various types of Hepatitis which will ensure that Ugandan medical professionals and the Ugandan Government establishment are better able to diagnose and treat Hepatitis - especially in children and young adults. As it has always been said, prevention is better than cure. I have every reason to believe that the series of articles and features that have appeared over the past one week in the ‘New Vision' will invariably help with a better understanding of Hepatitis, and the ways and means of tackling it not just in Uganda but in the wider Eastern and South African regions.
The writer is the High Commissioner of India in Uganda