NMS Accused Of Inefficiency In Drug Distribution

3268 Views Fort Portal, Uganda

In short
The National Medical Stores (NMS) is being accused by health officials in Kabarole district of delivering drugs to health units that have not been requested for, causing shortage of essential drugs at health centres.

The National Medical Stores (NMS) is being accused by health officials in Kabarole district of delivering drugs to health units that have not been requested for, causing shortage of essential drugs at health centres.
 
Health units send requests to the National Medical Stores, indicating the drugs they require. However NMS instead delivers non- essential drugs.
 
In July, Bukuku Health Centre 1V, ordered for supply of anti-malarial and anti-biotics and drugs for Tuberculosis. However NMS delivered medicine for treating rabies and magnesium tablets.
 
Charles Musinguzi, the in-charge of the health centre says that they were surprised to receive magnesium tablets and yet they had not requested for them. Musinguzi says that the health centre needs more drugs because the stock of anti-malarial and TB drugs will last them until next week.
 
He says the medicine used for treating rabies and the magnesium tablets have been stocked at the health store and will be returned to the NMS because no patient has ever requested for them, since they were delivered.
 
Musinguzi notes that some patients who need anti-malarial tablets have been turned away or referred to Fort Portal Referral Hospital, because the drugs are not enough.
 
Kataraka Health Centre 1V, in Fort Portal Municipality is also facing the same problem. In May, the unit requested for contraceptives and syringes but NMS supplied the health centre with magnesium tablets.
 
David Kagoro, the in-charge of the health centre says that the tablets were returned to NMS because they were not required. Kagoro explains that currently, the health centre lacks syringes.
 
When Uganda Radio Network visited the health centre, over 20 patients wanted syringes but the unit did not have them. Doreen Kakyo, a resident of Kitumba says that since May, she has been buying syringes when going for treatment.  
   
Richard Mugahe, the District Health Officer Kabarole says that the inconsistency has been brought to the attention of NMS, but there hasn’t been any response.
 
Mugahe says that patients have often been accusing health centres of refusing to provide the drugs, and yet the problem lies with NMS.
 
This comes as health centers in Bukomansimbi district are also stuck after running out of drugs.  
 
In a telephone interview, Moses Kamabare, the General Manager NMS said that the inefficiency is caused by what he called human error, which the corporation’s addressing.
 
He says that NMS receives many orders from different health centres in the country, so drugs meant to be taken to a specific health centre may mistakenly be supplied to another health centre.    
 
He promised that in future, officials from the health units will be required to be present when the drugs destined to their centres are loaded to ensure they are not supplied to other health units. 
 
Kamabare however notes that NMS has the mandate to deliver drugs that it feels are essential to the community, even if they have not been requested for. He says that NMS can’t wait for an outbreak of rabies and then deliver the drugs.

 

About the author

Emmanuel Kajubu
Emmanuel Kajubu is proud to have been the first Ugandan journalist to write in depth pieces about the Tooro Kingdom institution. His knowledge of the inner workings of the Tooro Kingdom is what made him privy to the splits in the royal family. These splits almost challenged Tooro Omukama Oyo Nyimba Iguru's reign.

Culture, agriculture and the environment are just two areas of many of interest to Kajubu. As long as he has held a pen, Kajubu has also written about public policy, health and crime.

Kajubu is keen on impacting his society not just as a writer but also a trainer and mentor. Bundibugyo and Ntoroko districts fall under his docket. Kajubu has been a URN staff member since 2008.