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Kenya launches new body to regulate veterinary medicines

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya on Friday launched a new body that will oversee the regulation of all veterinary medicinal products in the country.

Andrew Tuimur, principal secretary at the State Department of Livestock, said the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) will oversee the manufacture, importation, exportation, registration, distribution, prescription and dispensing of veterinary medicines.

“Efficient livestock production and animal welfare can only be enhanced with proper regulation of veterinary medicinal products,” Tuimur said during the launch in Nairobi.

He noted that the new body will protect farmer’s interests, guarantee food safety and animal welfare while ensuring the livestock industry supports economic growth and family livelihoods.

Tuimur told members of the council and management of the new body to engage with all stakeholders to ensure that its objective is met.

VMD’s role previously was handled by the Pharmacy and Poisons Board and the Pest Control Products Board.

In recent past, it has been widely reported that arid and semi-arid lands in Kenya, home to 80 percent of livestock, suffer from veterinary drug misuse which affects the health and well-being of their animals and hurts the livestock trade both in local and international markets.

The body will enable Kenya to export livestock products to European and other international markets with ease as it will help address requirements by the international market regulators.

It would greatly support both the dairy and poultry industries whose products are often banned for export due to unacceptable drug and chemical residues arising from misuse and mishandling of veterinary medicines.

Since their discovery in the early 20th century, antibiotics and related medicinal drugs have substantially reduced the threat posed by infectious diseases.

However, according to Tuimur, their misuse and mishandling exacerbated by weak legislation and lack of enforcement of the Pharmacy and Poisons Act has actually disadvantaged livestock farmers.

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