By James Odong
Jiggers continue to be reported as a major public health problem in Uganda, particularly in Rubanda District. They have become a community horror increasing poverty and social exclusion of the affected people and sometimes leading to death.
Jigger infestation is one of the neglected public health problems in Rubanda District affecting the Batwa communities of Bufundi Sub County.
“Jiggers are a leading cause of disability, morbidity and sometimes mortality, particularly in the elderly, women and school age children among the Batwa community here. There is hence an urgent need to step up efforts by all stakeholders and fight this scourge”, said Rubanda District Medical Officer (DHO), Dr Abdon Birungi.
National Medical Stores (NMS) Entebbe, a government parastatal responsible for procuring, storing and distributing medicine and medical supplies working with Rubanda District Local Government have stepped up its efforts towards the eradication of jiggers in the area.
Our attention has been drawn to an Article that appeared in the Daily Monitor of Thursday, 23rd August 2018, Page 8 under the title “NMS on the Spot after Institute saves sh.4.6 billion on Cancer” and also discussed on several other media platforms.
We wish to inform all stakeholders as follows:-
1. The issues of Supply, Quality and Prices of Cancer Medicines between National Medical Stores (NMS) and Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI), are historical, and had been adequately responded to by NMS and other relevant authorities. We did not expect them to be recycled again. The fact that they have been recycled, and in the distorted manner, points to a much sinister motive.
2. It is on record that the Medicines that NMS procured for Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI), were always procured on the request, recommendation and involvement of UCI. This was to ensure that the medicines procured were of the Quality Standard and Prices acceptable to UCI. (See Annex A)
3. In all cases, UCI always demanded that NMS should procure medicines of a high Quality Standard, specifi cally USFDA or equivalent Standard. The Quality Standard of Medicines directly determines the Price. For example, as every Ugandan knows, Medicines made in Uganda, would cost much less than those made in America or Europe, because they are of a different Quality Standard. Thus by UCI demanding USFDA medicines or equivalent, they were in effect demanding “highly priced” medicines.
4. Whereas NMS was aware that medicines of another Quality Standard were effective, UCI would not accept such medicines, and would reject them if supplied. (See Annex B)
5. As NMS, we have always known that the insistence on this Quality Standard was never in the interests of the patients. It did not guarantee access to health care, as recent extortion cases from UCI can demonstrate. Indeed more often than not, UCI always directed patients to buy the same quality of medicines rejected by UCI, from Private Pharmacies in Kampala. We believe it’s this quality
of medicines that they now say they “bought cheaply!”
The staff of National Medical Stores (NMS) joined hundreds of others who had turned up at the Kololo Ceremonial Grounds for the inaugural National Day of Physical Activity, held on Sunday 08/07/18. Spearheaded by NMS’ mother ministry, the Ministry of Health, the National Day of Physical Activity is to be an annual event, happening every second Sunday of July. And the main aim of the day is to galvanise Ugandans to adopt a healthy lifestyle; one that specifically involves regular exercise.
H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni leading a 10.5 km walk during the launch of the National Day of Physical Fitness.