By Naboth Isaac Niwagaba.
Farmers in Rubanda District are reportedly feeding pigs on Atiretroviral Drugs – ARVs meant for people living with HIV//AIDs in order to enhance growth and increase the pigs’ body mass.
This was revealed yesterday in the report presented by the National Drugs Authority – NDA during the training of Veterinary Animal Health Workers at Rubanda Town Council Meeting hall.
While giving an overview of findings from the NDA’s sensitization activities carried out for one week in Rubanda District, The Regulatory Officer in charge of medicines Dr. Brian Sekayombya said that they were shocked to find out that farmers in the district are using ARVs to enhance growth and fattening of pigs.
Dr. Brian said they could not establish how the ARVs ended up in the hands of farmers, but he said they were suspecting either some HIV/AIDs patients were selling their own medicine to pig farmers or it could be a result of illegal access to the ARVs in Public health facilities. He asked the Rubanda District Chief Administrative Office to investigate the matter.
The Rubanda District Principal Assistant Secretary Elly Mucunguzi who represented the CAO said they would engage the District Health Officer and organize a mass sensitization Campaign to inform the public that misuse of ARVs is not only dangerous, but also illegal. Mucunguzi said that after sensitizing the public, they will alert the Police and it’s sister security agencies to arrest any farmer involved in feeding ARVs to pigs.
Meanwhile, Dr. Brian also pointed out that farmers in the district were using car engine oil to treat skin diseases in animals. He said the vice could expose both animals and humans to dangers related to cancer .He blamed the Ditrict Veterinary office for not availing enough information to the local farmers.
“The farmers have consequently done it their way which is of course dangerous not only to the animals, but also to the animal products consumers,” he said.
The Rubanda District Production and Marketing Officer Benon Kahangi and the District Veterinary Officer Cosma Twesigomwe declined to comment on the matter.
Dr. Wilfred Opira also the regulatory officer at NDA said they were carrying out Nationwide sensitization of veterinary stakeholders about veterinary drugs, as well as listening to challenges faced by farmers in regard to veterinary services. He said the campaign runs throughout the year and on Thursday the 18th of Feb. 2021, they will move to Rukiga District.