The National Drug Authority (NDA) has cautioned school heads against providing students with Covidex, a herbal drug supportive treatment for corona virus as school reopening nears.
NDA warning comes shortly after education stakeholders fronted the idea of students reporting back to school with Covidex for use in case they develop symptoms of Covid-19.
Martin Okiria, who is the National Chairman of the Association of Secondary School Head Teachers of Uganda (ASSHTU), suggested that Covidex be made a requirement when schools resume operation as a way of silencing the stigma that comes with new COVID-19 cases.
Okiria made these remarks during a virtual stakeholders meeting that was hosted by the Ministry of Education on Monday this week.
“We think that students should be asked to come with at least three (3) bottles each, so that if one develops symptoms they can take the Covidex. We think that this will help,” Okiria stated.
Okiria also requested that school reopening should not be pegged on COVID-19 vaccination, saying that teachers can continue to get vaccinated while schools operate.
However, the National Drug Authority said that this may cause drug misuse and consequent side effects among student in schools.
Covidex was approved by NDA for use both in children and adults as a supportive treatment of viral infections but some Ugandans have been taking it even without being sick.
Mr Abiaz Rwamwiri, the NDA spokesperson, said that even as a herbal drug, Covidex is not risk-free and should be taken on the advice of a health worker.
“Covidex was approved…not as prevention (prophylaxis) of the same and must be used on the advice of a professional health worker. Forcing children to buy it when they are not sick promotes unsafe drug use. We remind the public that drugs should not be treated as snacks!” Mr Rwamwiri said.
The national drug regulatory authority also warned that the students may not be in position to safely store the drug.
“This proposal has significant safety implications relating to misuse, overuse, poor storage and unsupervised use of drugs. Drugs are sensitive in regard to how they are kept and used.” Mr Rwamwiri added.