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.
NMS to conduct Free Yellow Fever Vaccination in West Nile
National Medical Stores (NMS) is set to carry out a free Yellow Fever vaccination exercise in Arua City in West Nile Region, officials announced on Tuesday. The two-day exercise starts on Tuesday, March 23 at Police Grounds in Arua City. The exercise shall benefit Ugandans living in and around Arua and West Nile at large. NMS’ Public Relations Officer (PRO) James Odong said this is part of NMS’ Corporate Social Responsibility. “This free yellow fever vaccination is a token of our commitment to consistently contribute towards positive social development and better quality of life of Ugandans,” he explained. “Due to COVID-19 Pandemic, strict Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in the fight against the novel Covid-19 will be observed.” NMS has over the years carried out yellow fever vaccination activities in several parts of the country. Uganda is considered a high-risk country for Yellow fever by a comprehensive global strategy to Eliminate Yellow Fever Epidemics (EYE). In 2020, the Ministry of Health launched the yellow fever vaccination campaign in West Nile after the disease claimed four lives. NMS General Manager, Moses Kamabare emphasized that immunization remains the main strategic approach to prevent, contain and eliminate Yellow fever outbreaks. “NMS has been an active partner with the people of Uganda for 27 years and it is an honor that we shall continue to defend and maintain. NMS is passionate about your lives,” said Kamabare. “NMS has provided, and will continue to provide, the necessary medicines and other medical supplies including Personal Protective Equipment to Government Health Facilities and other institutions that are at the frontline in the fight against Covid-19 as advised by Ministry of Health,” he emphasized. NMS’ mandate is to procure, store and distribute Essential Medicines and Medical Supplies (EMHS) to Public Health Facilities. The institution will later this year open its fully automated pharmaceutical warehouse in Kajjansi off Entebbe road. The spacious warehouse in Kajjansi will allow vehicles drive in to pick and drop medicines which is not the case at the stores in Entebbe. The cold rooms which store sensitive medical supplies such as vaccines and laboratory commodities will have their storage capacity increased five-fold at the new structure. NMS has been distributing COVID-19 vaccines across the country. Yellow fever vaccination in Uganda is normally taken by people traveling out of the country, owing to its cost (about 100,000 a shot). Yellow Fever, like malaria, is transmitted through mosquito bites. Its symptoms include high fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting blood in stool and yellowing eyes.
Nutritional Supplies Integrated into the National Supply System of Essential Medicines and Health Supplies Pilot Project for West Nile Region.
The Ministry of Health with support from partners in the Health sector have initiated a process of integrating nutritional health supplies into the national essential medicines and health supply system at the National Medical Stores(NMS) to foster efficiency in the procurement, storage and distribution of nutritional supplements in the health country.
The medicines that have been procured and distributed with support from partners include therapeutic food for the management of Acute Malnutrition, micronutrients to manage micronutrient deficiencies and de-wormers.
Although some of this supplies have been partially integrated and are being procured and distributed by NMS, treatment supplies for management of Severe Acute Malnutrition SAM) are completely being procured and distributed by partners with no budget line in NMS.
“The Health Ministry acknowledges that its very crucial that all essential commodities used in the treatment of SAM are in sufficient quantities in the health facilities. Integration of these supplies into NMS system where commodities will be delivered up to the health facilities is seen as a step towards improving access to nutritional supplies for clients in need”, said, Dr Diana Atwine, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health.
She added, “To that effect, the MOH embarked on the integration of SAM nutritional supplies into the NMS system and has reached a critical stage where supplies are ready to be handed over to NMS to begin a pilot in seven Districts in West Nile”.
The Districts include Adjumani, Arua, Koboko,Moyo, Madi-Okolo,Obongi and Yumbe. The Pilot project is being supported by the USAID and UNICEF.
"Today is a very special occasion and a key milestone in a longer journey, which started back in 2017 with an assessment of nutrition supply chain, and then followed by the development of nutrition supply chain integration road map”, said Dr Viorica Berdaga, Chief of Child Survival and Development at UNICEF Uganda, during the launch of the pilot phase of the Nutrition Supply Integration Pilot Study at National Medical Stores Entebbe recently.
For several years, UNICEF has been closely working with the Ministry of Health, National Medical Stores, and other nutrition partners to harmonize and integrate nutrition commodities into the governmental supply chain system.
“UNICEF remains committed to working closely with the Ministry of Health, National Medical Stores, sister UN agencies, development partners, civil society, private sector and all individuals to end preventable maternal and child mortality and to promote better health and nutrition for the children and general population of Uganda! ",Dr Berdaga said