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Museveni Commissions First HIV, Malaria Diagnostic Factory in Sub-Saharan Africa

Museveni Commissions First HIV, Malaria Diagnostic Factory in Sub-Saharan Africa

On Tuesday afternoon, President Yoweri Museveni officially opened Microhaem Scientifics (MHS), a cutting-edge diagnostic manufacturing plant located in Ntinda, close to Kampala.

Pioneering in Sub-Saharan Africa, the diagnostic factory will manufacture cost-effective, high-quality test kits for various diagnostic devices, such as HIV and malaria test kits, which will significantly impact millions of African families.

The plant is also the only one in the Great Lakes Region to manufacture diagnostic test kits under the guidelines of the World Health Organization and the National Drug Authority (NDA).

The Uganda Development Bank (UDB), which supplied a vital top-up of USD 6.3 million (roughly UGX 24 billion) to support working capital as well as the importation of high-tech medical equipment and machinery, was a partner in the development of the $25 million (roughly UGX 96 billion) facility.

The project’s creator, MHS Managing Director Dr. Cedric Akwesigye, was praised by the president, who also stated that it is precisely these kinds of investments that would enable Uganda to become a modern economy driven by growth and development.

“I want to salute your young people for waking up and getting out of the slavery of dependency because that has been the problem for Africa,” Mr. Museveni said, urging Ugandan scientists to use their scientific knowledge to solve the many scientific problems affecting the continent.

“This is possible because you have a very powerful resource, you people. The most powerful resource you have is the market. The market is part of the business; anybody who manufactures, if he cannot sell, then that business is not business,” he said, adding that in the next 30 years, Africa’s population will be 2.5 billion.

The President asked the company to invest in research to develop more homegrown molecular and diagnostic devices, and he gave Dr. Akwesigye assurances that the government, through the Ministry of Health, would purchase the test kits manufactured by MHS, specifically for HIV and malaria, among other necessary medical devices.

The plant, a celebration of Ugandan scientific innovation, will house the manufacturing of a wide variety of molecular and diagnostic test kits, including Hepatitis B, EID, and HIV viral load tests, among others, according to Dr. Akwesigye.

He said that a key turning point in the development of Uganda’s health sector had been reached when Microhaem Scientifics purchased technologies from renowned partners including Guangzhou Wondfo Biotech Co., Ltd (China) and Deseret Laboratories Inc (US Based).

“To retain this revenue within our economy, we seek government support through off-take guarantees with concrete figures and full commitment, import restrictions (both tariff and non-tariff), and tax exemptions,” Dr. Akwesigye said.

“With this state-of-the-art facility, Uganda can seize this opportunity, significantly boosting our economy. This revenue alone surpasses three times the income generated from coffee exports as of September 2023.”

In particular, he asked the president to assist in opening up markets in Sudan, the Congo, Kenya, Tanzania, and Somalia, among other African nations.

Uganda’s Minister of Health, Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, commended Microhaem Scientifics for being a leader in the region’s diagnostic manufacturing industry.

“For you to appreciate the importance of local manufacturing of medical devices, let me take you a little back to the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021. The Ministry of Health was surveying to establish the extent of the spread of COVID-19 infection in the population testing and tracking contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases and

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