The story of Quality Chemicals Limited was carved and wielded by the eminent, ever-so-vicious flames of the Katwe workshop suburbia. Katwe, a town renowned for being the center of innovation, raw creativity and epic craftsmanship in Uganda, played host (still does,) to the first shop the QCL business owned.
After experiencing first hand, the inadequacies in the supply system of life science products in Uganda, six friends decided to take on the weighty mantle of creating a long lasting solution for the country. Mr. Francis Xavier Kitaka, with knowledge about the different strengths of his colleagues; Emmanuel Katongole, Mr. Frederick Mutebi Kitaka, Mr. George Baguma, Mr. Donald Martin, Mr. Randall Tierney, proposed that the 6 of them partner in order to make Quality Chemicals Limited a reality. To realize the dream, they had to start somewhere. They started importing and distributing veterinary medicine in Uganda and within a short time, they had a number of flagship products floating on the market.
Quality Chemicals Limited took the market by a storm. With flagship products like Tsetse Tick, we became market leaders. The management ‘s after sale care services like sensitizing and training farmers on proper use of the products, as well as general pest-combative measures and safe livestock practice, among others positioned QCL a 360 solutions provider for its clients. We started auditing client’s practices and held trainings to demonstrate the solutions that QCL was introducing. Because of this care and knowledge acquired during the audits, our solutions sufficiently met the needs of the Ugandan veterinary medicine market.
At the height of the Malaria and HIV AIDs epidemic, Quality Chemicals Limited registered what was arguably the most formidable intervention to the fight against both epidemics. While interacting with farmers during seminars, the directors realized that farmers, like the rest of Uganda, were victims of both the epidemics. This prompted QCL to expand from the supply of only veterinary medicines. QCL then added a human division in a bid to combat the epidemics that had brutally hit the country.
The company took lead in the fight of Malaria by becoming the first to roll out the insecticide treated net (ITN), under the flagship brand of KO Net; which played a role of seismic proportions in the combating of Malaria in Uganda.
The company also spearheaded the response to the HIV AIDS epidemic by importing and distributing ARVS.
QCL partnered with Cipla Pharmaceuticals in India to establish the first Anti-Retroviral manufacturing plant in Sub-Saharan Africa. The partnership gave birth to the largest pharmaceutical manufacturer in East Africa and also one of the largest in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). CiplaCQIL is, (up to date) one of the few pharmaceutical manufacturers in SSA to operate a World Health Organization (WHO) CGMP compliant facility that manufactures a range of WHO pre-qualified medicines for treating HIV/AIDS and malaria. The partnership wasn’t the only innovation happening. QCL had started dabbling in mini public health interventions with the testing and supply of a few fumigation products.
CiplaQCIL is listed on the Uganda Stock Exchange at a valuation of US$255 million. The first pharmaceutical company to IPO and only the 11th company in the country to do so.
Three of the founding shareholders of QCL reacquired a majority stake in Quality Chemicals Limited. With the recruitment of knowledgeable professionals and entry of experienced directors, QCL shall play a vital role in provision of life science solutions in Africa. QCL now operates as a separate entity from CiplaQCIL, and has since accelerated efforts to serve its clientele better. QCL has ventured into being the 360 life science solutions center of Africa, having added Crop and Public Health to the first two departments of Human and Animal health. The vision doesn’t stop at meeting life science solutions through importation and distribution but also still encompasses the possibility of setting up more state of the art pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities to continue the company’s mission of providing access to affordable high-quality medicines.
The story of Quality Chemicals Limited is not complete without the name of the late Francis Xavier Kitaka. A man of many talents, Kitaka was one of the 6 founding directors of Quality Chemicals Uganda Limited. He played a pivotal role in the establishment, growth and innovation at Quality Chemicals Limited. So much so that he was, on many occasions, revered and referred to as the grandfather of private veterinary medicine practice in Uganda.
Throughout his lifetime, Kitaka was actively involved in the innovation, development and activism for positive change across the Uganda Livestock sector since 1968. A Ugandan who resided in Kampala – Uganda, Kitaka’s untimely demise was a huge shock to the nation, as well as to the Quality Chemicals Uganda Limited fraternity and partners. He will always be remembered for the tremendous contribution to the company, as well as to the pharmaceutical industry at large.