The Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary, Dr. Diana Atwine has successfully concluded a working visit in London where UK based companies announced plans to establish a pharmaceutical industrial park in Nakasongola District.
On 25th April 2022, Dr. Atwine led a multisectoral delegation to attend the UK East Africa Health Summit at the British Medical Association (BMA) House in London. The UK East Africa Summit was convened by several UK institutions that included; The Wellcome Trust, British Medical Journal, NHS Health Education England as well as the different diaspora associations of East Africa.
Alongside other Permanent Secretaries from the Region, Dr Atwine presented Uganda’s health sector priorities and investment opportunities that are contained in the current Health Sector Development Plan (2020/2021-2024/2025) as she mobilised for UK led global health partnerships to work with the Ministry of Health in achieving these priorities.
“I advocated for strong resilient health systems that focus on prevention and strong secondary/ tertiary care systems, the Global Health Security agenda, local manufacturing of pharmaceutical products and bilateral funding from the UK towards key health priorities in Uganda,” Dr. Atwine said. Uganda was highly praised for her performance in controlling the COVID-19 Pandemic.
In turn, the conveners awarded President Museveni and Dr Diana Atwine for their impressive leadership in response to the pandemic. The Summit was also attended by Rt. Hon Rebecca Kadaga (1st Deputy Prime Minister of Uganda and Minister for East African Community Affairs), Amb. John Leonard Mugerwa (Ag. Uganda High Commissioner to UK and Northern Ireland), Hon Diana Mutasingwa (State Minister and Woman MP Buikwe District) and Hon Dr Charles Ayume.
Rt. Hon Rebecca Kadaga and Hon Diana Mutasingwa delivered keynote addresses while Hon. Dr Ayume joined a high-profile panel on “setting local research agenda and funding local research institutions in health and climate change” with fellow MPs from the East African region.
“The summit has provided a platform for governments, institutions and individuals to share expertise and opportunities for equitable recovery from the COVID 19 Pandemic.” Moses Mulimira, Lead, UK East Africa Health Summit said.
On 26th April 2022, after the UK East Africa Health Summit, Dr Atwine and her delegation also had engagements to strengthen partnerships in various areas in the health sector at the UK Parliament, House of Lords and the House of Commons. These engagements included; The Uganda UK Health Investment round table meeting, the All-People Parliamentary Groups (APPGs) on Malaria, Neglected Tropical Diseases and Maternal Health.
At the Health Investment round table meeting hosted by Lord Dolar Popat who doubles as the UK Trade Envoy to Uganda, Rwanda and DRC, notable UK companies in the life sciences industry indicated their interest in investing in Uganda’s Health Sector especially in pharmaceutical manufacturing. “We held a good meeting with the House of Lords, the second chamber of the UK Parliament.
Key on agenda was a discussion on the ongoing plans for establishment of the Uganda Pharmaceutical Industrial Park in Nakasongola by investors from UK,’ Dr Atwine said, adding that the East African Region remains highly import dependant with over 70% of its Pharmaceutical Products. She indicated that Uganda alone imports over 80% of its medical supplies with pharmaceutical expenditure growing at 8.4 per annum. “The PHARMA park will provide the standard environment for pharmaceutical manufacturing while creating an industrial Cluster for value chain of pharmaceutical manufacturing.
This will provide jobs, cut government expenditure on importation among other values to the economy,” she added. “I want to thank you Dr Atwine for your indefatigable efforts in mobilizing UK led global health partnerships to contribute to the development of Uganda’s health sector and shared prosperity between our two countries” Lord Dolar Popat said.
On 27th April 2022, the Uganda delegation attended a technical day for the Strengthening Health Workforce Capacity through Global Learning (SCALE) Program developed by the ministry of Health and NHS Health Education England (HEE) through Uganda UK Health Alliance to facilitate clinical subspeciality training pathways between Uganda and the UK in four (4) critical areas of Maternal Fetal Medicine, Critical Care, Emergency Medicine and Neonatology.
The Permanent Secretary also visited the University College London (UCL) where she discussed partnerships in Maternal Fetal Medicine under the SCALE Program. She was impressed by the state-of-the-art facilities at UCL in Obstetric Care and appreciated their involvement in the SCALE Program which will enable the transfer of these capabilities to Uganda. Following this visit, the UCL further offered 2 maternal fetal medicine fellowships per year to Ugandan doctors and midwives which will contribute to improving maternal and perinatal outcomes.
On 28th April, Dr Atwine also visited and toured the Cambridge University Teaching Hospitals that are currently supporting a number of global health partnerships with Uganda and the delivery of the SCALE Program component on Critical Care “It was a great pleasure to meet the amazing team at Cambridge University Hospital. We discussed the collaboration in training Acute Care, Antimicrobial stewardship and research in Oncology,” she said after the visit. The Ministry of Health appreciates Ambassador John Leonard Mugerwa and the Uganda High Commission to the UK for the successful coordination of the Visit.