July 9, 2008

Swaziland to Buy AIDS Drugs From Uganda

Excerpt form report by Barbara Among entitled:"Swaziland to buy ARVs from Uganda" published by Ugandan newspaper The New Vision website on 9 July

His Majesty King Mswati III of Swaziland, who is on a four-day state visit, yesterday toured the new anti-AIDS and anti-malaria drug plant in Luzira, Kampala.Swazi Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Mathedelene said the Swazi government would initially buy drugs from Uganda when the factory starts full production.

"This visit is part of our efforts to curb the HIV epidemic. We plan to build a factory of a similar nature", he said.

Mathedelene said Swaziland has a small population of 1.2 million but with the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in the world at 38.8 percent five times the sub-Saharan African figure of 7.5 percent. President Yoweri Museveni accompanied the king on the tour. Mswati toured the plant to learn more about it, how it was set up, its production capacity and rates of return.

During the guided tour, he witnessed the production process of anti-retroviral (ARVs) and anti-malaria drugs, as well as the packaging process.

Also present was Health Minister Stephen Mallinga, ICT Minister Ham Mulira and the board members of the factory.

King Mswati III is here to discuss new areas of cooperation, particularly in the fields of trade and HIV/AIDS.

Responding to questions from the king, Quality Chemicals [Industries] Chairman Board of Directors Francis Kitaka said the plant would go into full production in August and would be able to manufacture six million anti-AIDS and malaria drugs a day.

According to the managing director, Emmanuel Katongole, the plant has enough capacity to meet Uganda's needs and those of neighbouring countries.

President Museveni said the government would buy shares worth 10bn-shilling [6,172,840 dollars] in the plant in order to enhance production of drugs in the country.[passage omitted: details of other areas the king visited ]

Originally published by The New Vision website, Kampala, in English 9 Jul 08.

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