President Yoweri Museveni has said that Uganda is ready to cooperate with Japan in the production of pharmaceuticals and vaccines to support and promote health care in Uganda and Africa.
“Cooperation with Japan on the issue of pharmaceuticals and vaccines will be a big boost to health care. When you produce them internally, it is much cheaper and accessible than importing them,” he said.
The President said Uganda’s scientists have done a lot of research in various areas and all they want now is collaboration and cooperation.
The president was recently meeting the Japan- AU Parliamentary Association members led by Hon. Emiko Takagai, the Japan State Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare and Member of the House of Councillors at Intercontinental Yokohama Grand Hotel. The Councillors include Hon. Kiyoshi Odawara, Kazunori Tanaka, Daishiro Yamagiwa and Masahiro Komura. The meeting was also attended by Ugandas’ Ambassador to Japan, Betty Akullo-Akech, and Minister for Health Dr. Jane Aceng.
Recently, Uganda and Japan signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) aimed at promoting cooperation in the field of healthcare and wellness in Uganda.
The MOC will strengthen cooperation in health focusing on; health promotion, prevention and early interventions, prevention, control and treatment of Communicable diseases; HIV/AIDS, TB, Malaria, Hepatitis B, Diarrhoea) and Non-Communicable Diseases; Improving Reproductive, Maternal, Neonatal, Child and Adolescent Health to reduce mortality and morbidity; Increasing access to hygienic and affordable toilets and collaboration on acquiring innovation in medical related industries; among others.
In a sideline TICAD 7 bilateral meeting with President Museveni, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe then stated that he hoped to deepen cooperation further in the field of health through a memorandum of cooperation for Africa Health and Well-Being Initiative and other forms of cooperation.
On whether the recently signed African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) will be effective, President Museveni said AFCFTA is a matter of survival for Africa. “Africa needs a consolidated market for its goods and services if it is to transform. There are a lot of opportunities in Africa. In Business there are two things: Production of goods and services and consumption. The market is important. AFCFTA is a matter of survival for the continent,” he said. The AfCFTA is a trade agreement which to enter into force for the African Continental Free Trade Area to become effective.
On the issue of refugees, the legislators hailed Uganda for its policy on hosting refugees from South Sudan but wondered whether this does not put a heavy burden on the country. The President acknowledged there are many challenges and called for more support. He said the problem in South Sudan is more ideological where the political class is still trying to consolidate themselves. He said the conflicts arise from politics of identity. He was however optimistic that it will be solved.
The President and the legislators agreed to follow up the various issues through the respective ministries of Foreign Affairs for implementation.