Assessing the awareness of selected veterinary drugs' stakeholders regarding veterinary drug counterfeits in Luwero District, Central Uganda
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Treatment of animals with different forms of veterinary drugs has always been the major approach to prevention and control of various animal diseases and parasites in livestock farming. However, there are many media reports on the ineffective treatments that are claimed to be due to the presence of counterfeits/ substandard veterinary drugs in central Uganda. Such drugs have been reported to cause mortality, morbidity, adverse reactions and encourage development of resistant pathogens. This study therefore assessed the level of awareness of key actors in the veterinary drug supply chain on veterinary drug counterfeits and their forms in Luwero district. A qualitative and descriptive cross- section study was conducted between December 2018 and March 2019. A total of 150 selected veterinary drug stakeholders including 13 drug shop operators (DSOs), 17 veterinary practitioners (VPs) and 120 farmers subdivided into three categories of cattle (40), poultry (40) and piggery (40) farmers, were purposefully selected and interviewed. The results indicated that a greater proportion of respondents 55% (82/150) had come across Counterfeit Veterinary Drugs (CVDs). Cattle farmers were more knowledgeable at 62.5% (25/40) among the three categories of farmers. However, a substantial proportion of VPs 92.5% (12/13) and DSOs 76.5% (13/17) had the greatest knowledge about CVDs. Majority 86.6% (130/150) of the participants showed a negative attitude towards the act of counterfeiting veterinary drugs. High demand for a given drug was perceived by the majority (77.8%) of farmers as the driver for counterfeiting practice (χ2= 5.9, p= 0.05). Among the various classes of veterinary drugs, acaricides were strongly claimed by a substantial proportion 52% (61/117) of respondents as the most commonly counterfeited drugs (χ2= 54.0, p< 0.001). Fake labels were the most common forms of CVDs reported by 64% (47/73) of the study respondents and encountered during the study. Overall, awareness of respondents about CVDs was higher among VPs 92.3% (12/13) and DSOs 76.5% (13/17) and lower for farmers 55% (66/120). In conclusion, stakeholders in the veterinary drug supply chain in Luwero district recognized that CVDs were widespread with acaricides, dewormers and poultry care antimicrobials being most affected. Therefore, multi-stakeholders awareness campaigns should be heightened and post market quality surveillance embraced as a sustainable approach to combating CVDs in Luwero district.