- Farmers use antiretroviral drugs to promote animal’s growth and control diseases
- MP’s cautioned that the revelations might lead to donors reconsidering their contributions to Uganda’s healthcare programs.
Several Members of Parliament in Uganda have raised alarm and expressed deep concern after shocking revelations that some farmers in the country are reportedly feeding their animals with antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) to expedite the fattening and growth of their pigs and chicken.
This practice has allegedly created a demand for ARVs among Uganda’s poultry and pig farmers in order for the growing demand for cheap pork and chicken.
Farmers claim that administering ARVs to their livestock helps in preventing swine flu and accelerating the animals’ growth.
Kareem Masaba, MP for Mbale Industrial City Division, sounded a warning about the potential consequences of this practice on both animals and humans.
“Many of us consume these animals without knowing …what is the implication of these drugs? it’s like taking Panadol when you are not sick…it will have an impact on your liver,” he said
He pointed out that using ARVs in this manner could have adverse effects on human health, potentially leading to the development of drug resistance in people living with HIV/AIDS.
These sentiments were echoed by Timothy Batuwa MP for Jinja West who highlighted the potential ramifications for Uganda’s access to donor aid and business.
“These ARVs are donated, the moment the donors will know that we are using them in poultry they will stop donating ARVs,” he said.
Uganda Government Responds
He cautioned that the revelation of farmers using donated ARVs for animals might lead to donors reconsidering their contributions to Uganda’s healthcare programs.
“But also its important to know that country’s that have been importing our poultry products and pork they will stop taking Ugandan products,”
However Uganda’s National Drugs Authority has clarified that those reports should not worry Ugandan’s as tests they conducted 10 years ago in Oyam indicated that one out of 30 samples tested for ARV use.
NDA Spokesman Abias Rwamiwiri said that the results they got made them to start sensitizing farmers on the dangers of using ARVs on animals and those who were found supplying the drugs were prosecuted.