1st NAPIANA SYMPOSIUM (NAPIANA-2022)
The NAPIANA-2022 Symposium under the theme: “Reinforcing the Roots of Natural Products Value Chains through Transdisciplinarity for Sustainable Societal Transformation” was held on 17th January 2022 at Makerere University.
The main activity at this blended (physical and virtual) symposium held at the College of Computing and Information Sciences Conference Hall was the establishment of the Natural Products Industry Advancement Network Africa (NAPIANA). The Network founded by Dr. Alice Nabatanzi, an academic staff at the College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS) was launched on 7th July 2021 at Imperial Royale Hotel, Kampala during the RNPIA-2021 Conference.
NAPIANA through its transdisciplinary approach aims at bridging the gaps between the stakeholders along the different Natural Products Value chains in order to advance the Natural Products Industry in Africa. The Symposium was officiated by Prof. Christopher Mbazira (Ag. Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic Affairs) and attended by major stakeholders in the Natural Products Industry from Uganda National Bureau of Standards, National Drug Authority and Natural Chemotherapeutic Research Institute.
Addressing participants, Prof. Mbazira applauded the establishment of NAPIANA. He expressed concern over the lack of standardization of natural medicines in Uganda, noting that packaging was so bad and could push away potential customers. Prof. Mbazira encouraged NAPIANA to work with the School of Law in order to address the issue of intellectual property protection which is a major challenge in the Natural products industry.
In his remarks, Prof. George Mondo Kagonyera, former Chancellor of Makerere University, and current Chancellor, Kabale University urged the Government of Uganda to invest more funds in Scientific research and also establish Scientific Centres of Excellence. He further emphasized the need to support young researchers for a brighter future. “Africa is rich with natural resources but remains underdeveloped due to lack of knowledge. We need to promote knowledge generation on the Continent,” he noted.
Prof. Buyinza Mukadasi, the Director, Directorate of Research and Graduate Training at Makerere University appreciated the Carnegie Corporation of New York for taking lead in promoting natural products science and technology competences in the region. He thanked the partner institutions (Future Africa Institute, University of Pretoria, Busitema University, Natural Chemotherapeutic Research Institute, National Drug Authority, Uganda National Bureau of Standards and Kabale University) which have made a positive contribution towards securing and sustainably engaging the African natural products industry for socio-economic development.
The Director noted that it is heartwarming to know that through NAPIANA, Makerere University will have institutional linkages and professional synergies with industries in the areas of product development through quality research and training human capital. He advised that the Network should take lead in networking natural products players such that knowledge can be shared for the benefit of all value chain players from the producers on farms to the processors and consumers.
Prof. Wanda Markotter (Future Africa, University of Pretoria) emphasized the role of Transdisciplinarity in solving African problems. She applauded Dr. Alice Nabatanzi on the establishment of NAPIANA and noted the significance of Future Africa in building research leaders across the African continent.
Dr. Alice Nabatanzi, Founder NAPIANA expressed gratitude to the Carnegie Corporation of New York for funding all her Projects (11 years) in Natural Products and furthermore providing funds for the establishment of NAPIANA. The capacity building from Future Africa Institute and University of Pretoria do not go unnoticed. She said the idea to establish NAPIANA was motivated by the fact that the Natural Products Industry in Africa was far behind compared to those in Asia and Europe yet Africa is richer in Biodiversity and the IKHS in Africa has existed since time immemorial. “I also realized the large gaps that existed between stakeholders in the natural products value chains and noted that these were major root causes to stalling Africa’s Natural Products Industry in addition to ignorance, poor infrastructure, poor policies, intellectual property issues and inadequate funding,” she explained.
Presentations at the Symposium
Professor Fredrick Jones Muyodi, Deputy Principal, College of Natural Sciences, Makerere University discussed the impact of Climate Change on natural products especially the impact on Biodiversity, habitats and Natural resources in general.
Dr. Grace Nambatya, Director Research, Natural Chemotherapeutic Research Institute, Ministry of Health talked about the COVID-19 herbal medicine Clinical trial that made a breakthrough and was launched by His Excellence the President of Uganda together with Maama Janet.
Dr. Brian Sekayombya, National Drug Authority emphasized the role of NDA in regulating herbal medicines in Uganda though he noted that there is a lot in terms of regulation to be done.
Mr. Daniel Bakulumpagi from Uganda National Bureau of Standards pointed out existing UNBS standards on products in Uganda but HE NOTED THAT UNBS DOES NOT HAVE STANDARDS ON HERBAL MEDICINES and are looking forward to work with NAPIANA and other stakeholders to come up with those standards.
Mr. Muhumuza James, Director Tropical Aloe Lands Foundation, emphasized the importance of NAPIANA to traditional healers.
Dr. Komakech Richard, Natural Chemotherapeutic Research Institute, Ministry of Health highlighted the role of Biotechnology in the production of traditional medicine in reference to the Korean Natural Products Industry.
Dr. Marco De Canha, University of Pretoria, South Africa discussed protection of intellectual property – patenting natural products and the patenting process in South Africa and the fees involved. He went on to show the patents they have registered in Professor Namrita Lall’s Phytomedicine Group.
This NAPIANA Symposium was crowned with a community engagement workshop that took place on 18th January 2022 at Najjembe sub-county, Buikwe district. During the one-day community workshop, the locals discussed and showcased the different natural medicines they use for (i) Pre and Post Pregnancy care, (ii) Child care, (iii) COVID-19 Management, (iv) Family care, (v) Ethnoveterinary medicine and how they have managed to conserve natural resources.
- Carnegie Corporation of New York
- Future Africa, University of Pretoria
- University of Pretoria
- Busitema University
- Kabale University
- National Drug Authority
- Uganda National Bureau of Standards
Follow the link below for more highlights.
Compiled by Dr Alice Nabatanzi, Lecturer, College of Natural Sciences, Makerere University