President Yoweri Museveni has chastised Africans for always living under what he called a 'slave mentality' and a dependency syndrome of always waiting to be saved by Europeans whenever they are faced with a challenge instead of finding the solution themselves.
While launching the clinical trial of the homegrown Covid-19 treatment drug, UBV-01N, a product of the Natural Chemotherapeutics Research Institute believed to have antiviral, anti-inflammatory and immunological properties and abilities, Museveni said at times he gets infuriated by the lack of self-belief of Africans.
"We shall not accept dependency. You must build an independent Uganda. We are working on the vaccine and treatment by ourselves,” Museveni said at Mulago national referral hospital.
"I don’t know what is the problem with Africans; how they can sit here like maggots - and they are dying and they are waiting for Europeans to save them. If the Europeans don’t get the vaccine, we shall die and get finished. If they don’t get a solution we shall die. That one I cannot accept. I really fell infuriated when I see Africans sitting here waiting to die if the Europeans don’t find a solution…When you’re supposed to do the work you say so and so should do the work. This one I cannot accept" added Museveni.
The UBV-01N drug will be administered to 128 male and female patients who present Covid-19 symptoms at Mulago hospital. Other institutions involved in this research are Makerere University School of Public Health, Makerere University Lung Institute, and Mulago hospital. The research and trials are funded by the government through the Presidential Science Initiative on Epidemics (PRESIDE) and the ministry of Science and Technology.
Dr Monica Musenero, the presidential advisor on epidemics said that the National Drug Authority (NDA), an entity established to ensure the availability of essential, efficacious and cost-effective drugs to Ugandans is largely equipped to monitor imported medicines and not local drugs.
The UBV-01N drug, the country’s first herbal remedy to go through the trial process is completely natural, made from raw materials sourced from Kabarole and Ngora areas. Dr Grace Nambatya, the director of the Natural Chemotherapeutics Research Institute also the principal investigator, said that they were challenged by a lack of standards and the fact that many scientists were just learning issues to do with product formulation.
But despite the challenges, Dr Nambatya said that the product has now met all the requirements of the regulatory bodies and they are ready to administer it to their 128 patients.
Dr Bruce Kirenga, the director Makerere University Lung Institute who is the senior clinical trial physician said assessing the efficacy of the UBV–01N drug started with trials on animals. He said they are randomly enrolling patients being treated for Covid-19 at Mulago hospital who will either be given an active drug or a placebo. Later he said, they will start testing the drug on patients being treated at other facilities across the country.
Meanwhile, for the new herbal cure, Musenero says it has been used and worked for people in the communities of Tooro where the drug components were picked. Results of the study will be ready in the next six months. Uganda has so far recorded a cumulative total 39,188 confirmed Covid-19 cases of which 318 people have succumbed.
“The product has already gone through quality assurance steps and got all the necessary certificates and approval for use in human beings," Aceng said.
"The product has been approved by the National Drug Authority, Uganda National Bureau of Standards and the National Council of Science and Technology,” Aceng added.
She said the country would be kept posted on the findings and the outcome of the studies.