Dr. Samuel Opio, the Secretary, Pharmaceutical Society of Uganda, says the sale of substandard hand sanitisers will impact negatively on the country’s preventive methods against the corona virus pandemic, saying there is need for government to do something to address the situation.
The Pharmaceutical Society of Uganda has
advised Ugandans to rely on time tested infection prevention methods of hand
washing with water and soap other than depending on hand sanitisers, many of
which are not certified.
According to pharmacists, for a hand sanitiser to be
effective in preventing infection, it should have at least 50 percent alcohol.
In the wake of COVID-19, the Health Ministry recommended using a hand rub
containing at least 70 percent alcohol content.
This came after random tests conducted by the Pharmaceutical Society of Uganda on hand sanitisers,
which revealed that some brands on the Ugandan market have less than 50 percent
alcohol content. This according to experts isn’t efficient to provide
protection from infections.
Whereas some of the hand sanitisers indicate
that they contain 90 percent alcohol content, they are not certified by Uganda
National Bureau of Standards-UNBS for general use. One of such
brands without a UNBS Quality mark is LAV’s sanitiser whose maker Arnold Ochom
told Uganda Radio Network that he has so far supplied over 3000 bottles on the
Ochom acknowledged that his product is yet to get approval from UNBS,
which he blames on bureaucracy. Such products, the Pharmaceutical Society says shouldn’t
be relied on.
Dr. Samuel Opio, the Secretary, Pharmaceutical
Society of Uganda, says the sale of substandard hand sanitisers will impact negatively
on the country’s preventive methods against the corona virus pandemic, saying there
is need for government to do something to address the situation.
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Dr. Opio says manufacturers of the fake
products are supplying them to unsuspecting pharmacies and wholesaler in
Kikuubo, Kampala’s business hub.
According to Dr. Opio, genuine hand sanitiser
brands should provide key information to users.
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Opio advises that for the next one month until ethanol
producers in the country, can provide genuine products, people need to stick to
soap and water.
“Government is talking to some people to produce sanitisers
but it might be a month until we see some of their products on the market. As
we wait, people who use sanitisers shouldn’t abandon soap and water. Do not
touch your face until you have water and soap to wash your hands,” Dr. Opio
Similarly, Atek Kagirita, the COVID-19 Incident Manager in the Ministry of Health, says soap and water is a better option than using fake hand
sanitisers. “We have received many reports that many of the
products on the market are fake. We recommend using a hand rub that has at
least 70 percent alcohol content. But some products on the market do not even
have 25 percent alcohol content. This is dangerous,” he said.
Uganda has so far confirmed 9 COVID-19 cases. Kagirita says
that with the confirmation of cases, people should avoid using unknown hand
sanitiser brands to avoid exposure and contamination.