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New push to stop use of animal drugs on people

 The misuse of xylazine was a "grave threat" in Mombasa’s Majengo, Old Town, and Kisauni areas. [iStockphoto]

The Veterinary Medicines Directorate has partnered with government agencies to fight the use of animal drugs on human beings.

It emerged that there is an increase in unlicensed manufacture and sale of animal feeds and drugs in the country.

“We continue to receive reports from our inspectorate teams of non-compliance by pharmacies and the presence of unregistered products in the market,” said Kenya Veterinary Board CEO Jane Njiru.

She said this year alone, they have impounded unregistered products worth over Sh5 million, which will be destroyed at the expense of the owners.

“In the recent past, a new challenge has emerged where a prescription for only animal medicine is used as narcotics and this endangers the lives of users,” she said.

The partnership to combat the use of animal drugs for human consumption follows a directive by the governments on March 6, to eradicate illicit brews, alcohol, drugs and substance abuse.

The Veterinary Medicines Directorate was directed to streamline the processes of manufacturing and retailing of animal drugs. The agency has now launched a rapid response initiative to ensure all veterinary drug manufacturers, distributors and retailers submit their licenses for verification.

They are also expected to ensure licensed veterinary doctors dispensing prescription drugs without prescription are deregistered. “We have so far issued licenses to 795 outlets, 500 being retail out of a possible 5,000,” said Ms Njiru.

Agrovets are also expected to provide certificates, names and license numbers of its workers authorised to prescribe the drugs. Njiru emphasised the importance of implementing the Rapid Response Initiative (RRI).

She said this will promote safe use of veterinary medicine that will mitigate the consumption of unsafe food of animals in the country.

Agriculture and Livestock Development, State Department for Livestock Development PS Jonathan Mueke said they support the initiative.

“One of the ways of improving livestock productivity is to avail affordable and quality inputs and effective execution of the mandate of (VMD) will contribute immensely to improve livestock productivity and therefore guarantee food security,” he said.

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