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Uganda Exploring Blockchain In Fighting Counterfeit Drugs

Uganda’s president Yoweri Museveni has pledged his support for a blockchain company, MediConnect which will help in the country’s war against counterfeit drugs. Museveni said that his government will tackle the spread of counterfeits drugs in Uganda using blockchain. MediConnect traces drugs from manufacturers via pharmacies and patients. The platform will help the Ugandan authorities tackle the counterfeits prevalence.

Museveni met the MediConnect bosses at the Ugandan capital, Kampala to discuss the benefits of using the distributed ledger technology-blockchain that offers transparency for transactions within the chain. In an effort to combat the challenge of fake medicine finding its way in the clinics and pharmacies from the black market, the president vowed to support the company.

Dexter Blackstock, MediConnect CEO, added that there was a need for the president and the health minister to act fast in tackling the counterfeit drug problem rocking the East African country. Blackstock, who is also a former Nottingham Forest striker acknowledged the tracking benefits blockchain would bring to the war against fake drugs in Uganda. Blackstock promises a secure and scalable framework for the task.

The former professional footballer see it as a great opportunity for MediConnect to be part of Uganda’s infrastructure and to protect citizens by ensuring that the drugs in circulation are safe and authentic

Counterfeits Prevalence In Uganda

According to statistics from the Ugandan National Drug Authority, 10% of drugs in the country given on a prescription are counterfeits and substandard versions of the real medicine.

Annually, over 250,000 children with pneumonia and malaria, common illness in third world countries, succumb due to treatment with substandard and fake medicine.

The World Health Organization admits that it’s very hard to quantify the impact of poor quality drugs in the global markets which also target older individuals.

According to research by WHO, one in ten medical products in the developing nations is fake or substandard. Over 40% of these are from the African region. WHO is therefore urging governments to take action and protect the vulnerable being affected by the crisis.

The most common types of substandard medicine in the Ugandan market include antimalarial drugs and emergency contraceptive pills.

The War against Counterfeits Commences in Uganda

The war began much earlier in the year in March when the NDA launched a campaign to reduce drug fraud in Uganda. So far, the exercise has successfully recovered counterfeits from raids and public education campaigns where more than 200 boxes of counterfeits have been recovered

Dr Medard Bitekyerezo, NDA board chairman says the counterfeits enter the country via porous borders across Lake Victoria. Other times they are smuggled into the country while disguised as other products.

The MediConnect blockchain system compliments efforts that are already in place to eradicate drug counterfeits. The technological solution will help identify the counterfeit and reduce the health dangers associated with fake drugs, weaken the groups and maximize Uganda’s medical resources.

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Making The Difference

MediConnects strategic partner Uebert Angel admits that he was appalled at the extent to which counterfeits had ruined lives, the most vulnerable being the most affected.

Investing in the pharmaceutical sector and in particular identifying the fake drugs is humbling and would make a difference. Angel was delighted that MediConnect was given the opportunity to make the change.

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