The Permanent Secretary/Secretary to the Treasury, Ramathan Ggoobi, led a team from Ministry of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development on a familiarization tour of National Medical Stores. He was accompanied by Deputy PS of Finance Patrick Ocailap, the Acting Accountant General, Jennifer Muhuruzi and Laban Mbulamuli the Acting Director of Budget.
Speaking after the tour of the NMS warehouse, Ggoobi commended NMS on the ongoing construction works of the new NMS warehouse in Kajjansi which he says has saved the taxpayer huge sums of money. Once completed, the 70bn Kajjansi warehouse will be the largest Government-owned pharmaceutical warehouse on the African continent.
National Medical Stores distributes safe delivery maternity kits, commonly known as " mama kits" to Government health facilities in Uganda. For the International Women’s month, we would like to shed some light on the importance of mama kits.
NMS distributes a standard quantity of 55 safe delivery mama kits once every two months to all Government Health Center IIIs across the country. For the higher health facilities, that is, HCIVs, General Hospitals, Regional Referral Hospitals, National Referral Hospitals are allocated mama kits according to the population and the services they offer.
A standard mama kit as determined by Ministry of Health
contains the following essential items; cotton wool, gauze, 5 pairs of gloves, baby soap, razor blades, plastic sheet. These kits are required by every birthing mother both in private and public health facilities
A mama kit was first introduced and produced by some groups of women in Uganda in 1997 to provide delivering mothers with a safe and clean environment, and to combat infections and deaths associated with poor hygiene and unclean environment during childbirth. It was piloted in the districts of Soroti, Kaberamaido, Lira, Masindi, Bundibugyo, Mukono, Gulu and Mubende
Over the years, Government has increased the budget for mama kits from 15bn in FY2019/20 to 17.5bn in FY2021/22, which translates to 1,651,674 million mama kits. This shows Government's commitment to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 3(SDG 3) - to accelerate the decline of maternal mortality by 2030 and ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including for family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes.
Mama kits are credited for increasing the attendance of expectant mothers for ante-natal care, thereby increasing the chances of giving birth in hospitals under the attendance of qualified health workers.
Important to note, is that mama kits are still inaccessible for many of the vulnerable people especially in rural Uganda. Research shows that most of the mama kits that are provided free of charge by Ugandan government are sold to the mothers who are meant to get them at no cost by some unscrupulous individuals. This is a sad reality!
For the Ugandans we serve, report any theft or sale of mama kits and/or medicines which are embossed, "Government of Uganda, Not for Sale" to the nearest police station or State House Health Monitoring Unit.
Kampala. 20th April, 2021- National Medical Stores (NMS) hosted a team from the Inspectorate of Government to create awareness about its operations, challenges faced in executing its mandate and establish a working partnership with the institution.
While addressing the Inspectorate representatives, the General Manager NMS- Moses Kamabare noted that while NMS fulfills its mandate of delivering medicines and medical supplies to the public health facilities, some individuals in charge of the supplies at the health facilities hoard the supplies with hopes of selling them illegally.
“Through the NMS Last Mile Delivery of commodities, we ensure essential medicines and health supplies are delivered right to the door step of the health centers and the in-charge of the center receives and signs a delivery note confirming receipt of the supplies. However, we continue to receive reports of claims of absence of the medicines and supplies which we investigate only to find that they have been shelved for months with an agenda of selling the medicines and supplies yet they are not for sell.”
Kamabare further noted that some people obtain medicines from various facilities feigning sickness with the purpose of selling the medicines while some pharmacists prescribe medicines outside the health centers or in large quantities against the Ministry of Health Standard Clinical Guidelines thus causing harm to the health of the recipient.
“We have seen some people who pretend to fall sick and pick medicines which are not for sell from various public health facilities and they have made businesses out of this, selling to people even across the border. It is imperative that we therefore develop a system to monitor and track the amount of medicines people receive from any public health facility across the country because this affects the availability of medicines. We need to hold these perpetrators to account,” he said.
The Inspectorate of Government team comprising of Director Leadership Code, Annet Twine, Manager Strategic Partnerships and Public Relations- Munira Ali, ManagerVerifications, Amos Baguma and Senior Inspectorate Officer, Pauline Nansamba expressed appreciation of the information shared with them and promised to support the store in ensuring availability of medical supplies especially in the regional health centers.
The Inspectorate Manager Strategic Partnerships and Public Relations-Munira Ali called for partnership between the Inspectorate and NMS to hold recipients of the medical supplies to account.
“One of the things we do is monitor implementation of government programs but we’ve also done this through empowering communities. We have over 90,000-foot soldiers mostly in the northern part of the country and we want to see how we can actually work together to utilize these foot soldiers. We have a lot of experience working with them. When you deliver drugs, can you give them a copy of the medicines that have been delivered so that if there’s any issue, someone may even be able to approach them and ask them about the unavailable supplies and they can help them to go and find out by demanding for information.”
In a letter addressed to NMS by Mariam Wangadya, Deputy Inspector General of Government and presented by Director Leadership Code, Annet Twine, she noted that, “The health sector is one of the most scrutinized public service as it directly affects citizens’ right of life and it is for this reason that NMS must espouse the highest level of integrity in performance of their duties. We are happy with the innovations NMS has put in place to promote efficiency in their work and also promote accountability and integrity. I encourage NMS to ensure that systems and procedures are transparent and that accountability is done in a timely manner.”
The visit concluded with a tour of the new state of the art NMS warehouse in Kajjansi during which the IG team further expressed appreciation of the strides taken by NMS in ensuring availability of safe and standard medical supplies in the country and re-echoed their support.