The Managing Director of National Medical Stores (NMS) Moses Kamabare has attributed the shortage of basic drugs in government hospitals on unstandardized prescription of medicines by some health workers and poor procurement planning by hospital administration.
Kamabare said that some health workers do not follow the standard clinical guidelines for prescription of medicine hence causing artificial shortage.
He further blamed poor procurement skills by some hospital administrations who fail to procure the most needed drugs and end up with unwanted expired drugs when they lack drugs to give to patients.
“There are medicines that do the same job but a health worker will only prescribe one medication which is sometimes not in the pharmacy and yet the alternative is there but cannot be given out because it hasn’t been prescribed. Sometimes the health worker prescribe a big number of medicine for a patient which are not necessary hence denying the other patients right to access free medicine,” he said.
He added “Also hospital administration must understand the kind of medications that is needed most and procure for the right amount. In most cases, we deliver what is requested and again receive complaints of shortage. Health workers and community leaders must work together to solve such issues.”
This was during an engagement meeting for youth and women leaders that took place today at the NMS head offices in Entebbe.
The meeting marked the beginning of the Silver jubilee celebrations for the organization since it was put in place by government in 1993.
As part of the celebration, NMS will hold a number of stakeholder engagement meetings to create a platform where they can discuss issues affecting the health sector in their areas and find a way forward.
The engagements will be held under the theme “innovations for effective and efficient service delivery”
During the meeting, Faridah Kyibowa, the National Chairperson Women Council wondered why there have been national complaints over shortage of basic medicines, including first aid medicines and yet NMS continued to say there was no shortage and that medicine availability had reached 85%.
“I think we need to engage the health workers so that our people do not continue to suffer and yet drugs are stocked in stores,” she said.
Kamabare in his official address asked the women and youth leaders to be advocates for good health living in their areas. He further asked them to work with their communities on disease preventative measures instead of waiting to get sick and look out for drugs.
“If all Ugandans did basic disease prevention practices like washing hands, sleeping under mosquito nets, immunization of children, driving carefully, using seat belts during travels and eating healthy, there would be no need to spend so much money on medications.”
“More than 75% of all diseases in Uganda are preventable by doing the basic healthy preventative measures. Avoid eating roadside foods without washing your hands, do exercises, and ensure good sanitation in your homes,” he said.