Museveni Inaugurates Bone Marrow Transplant Center in Lubowa

museveni inaugurates bone marrow transplant center in lubowa
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President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni inaugurated the first-ever Bone Marrow Transplant Center at the Joint Clinical Research Center (JCRC) headquarters in Lubowa, Wakiso District, situated along Entebbe Road. The President also laid the foundation stone for a new cell and gene therapy center while emphasizing the need for scientists to accelerate the development of an HIV/AIDS vaccine.

Championing Vaccine Development

President Museveni, who graced the Joint Clinical Research Center’s 30th Anniversary celebrations as the Chief Guest, challenged local scientists to expedite the process of creating an HIV/AIDS vaccine. He highlighted the critical role vaccines have played in addressing epidemic challenges throughout history.

Speaking on the significance of vaccines, he recounted historical successes, such as the eradication of smallpox through vaccination in the late 19th century. He expressed his surprise at the delay in developing an HIV/AIDS vaccine, recalling earlier optimism within the scientific community regarding the potential for a common denominator in virus variants.

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The President encouraged scientists, particularly those from Uganda, to take a proactive role in combating these health challenges, emphasizing the need for national initiative rather than reliance on external efforts.

Advancing Medical Technologies

During the event, President Museveni commended JCRC for its newly established bone marrow transplant center. He acknowledged that conducting such medical procedures locally would be more cost-effective, a move welcomed as an essential development for healthcare in Uganda.

The President also took a moment to dispel misconceptions about gene therapy and biotechnology, asserting that these practices did not necessarily interfere with religious beliefs. Drawing parallels to selective breeding among cattle, he noted that scientists’ ability to target specific genes could lead to more effective treatments. He aimed to persuade those with reservations that such practices were not new and could be instrumental in saving lives.

Honoring Contributions and Partnerships

President Museveni expressed his gratitude for the collaborative efforts of various partners, including Dr. Manfred Dietrich, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). He recognized their significant contributions to the progress of JCRC and the fight against HIV/AIDS in Uganda.

At the ceremony, several individuals, including former Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Amama Mbabazi and former Deputy Chief Justice of Uganda His Lordship Steven Kavuma, received awards for their substantial contributions to JCRC.

Government Commitment to Healthcare

The Minister of Health, Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, thanked President Museveni for his unwavering support in the battle against HIV/AIDS in Uganda and his commitment to ending AIDS by 2030. She acknowledged that, despite the challenges posed by the epidemic in the early 1990s, the President’s leadership had initiated early awareness and prevention campaigns. His establishment of the Joint Clinical Research Centre in 1992 marked a pivotal moment in Uganda’s response to HIV/AIDS, setting the stage for scientific solutions to the crisis.

Dr. Aceng attributed the improved HIV/AIDS statistics in Uganda to a multi-sectoral approach and collaboration with development partners, underlining JCRC’s significant role in this journey.

Pioneering Research and Cutting-Edge Care

Prof. Charles Ibingira, Chairman of the Board of Directors of JCRC, praised President Museveni for his courageous decision to tackle the HIV challenge head-on when the epidemic was in its early stages. He noted the transformation that had occurred due to the President’s vision, resulting in a positive impact on the lives of many Ugandans.

The Executive Director of JCRC, Dr. Cissy Kityo, emphasized the center’s contributions to the fight against HIV/AIDS. She highlighted JCRC’s pioneering role in using HIV drugs in sub-Saharan Africa, which began in 1992. Dr. Kityo also revealed that the center is leading studies on new HIV drugs administered through injections, a promising development in the treatment of the virus.

As the event concluded, Dr. Kityo invited President Museveni to present a house to an inpatient, Ms. Josephine Nakandi, who had been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS at the age of three and had since suffered from meningitis.

President Museveni’s generous contributions to the JCRC SACCO and Ms. Nakandi exemplified his commitment to advancing healthcare in Uganda. His substantial support and unwavering dedication to the fight against HIV/AIDS underscored the government’s pledge to improve the nation’s health and well-being.

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