The National Medical Stores (NMS) has implored Members of Parliament (MPs) to exercise their oversight function and champion the fight against medicines theft within their constituencies.
Speaking to legislators on the Health Committee, the NMS General Manager Moses Kamabare said there is a ‘growing paradox’ that whereas NMS supplies medicines to health centres with all documentary evidence, reports from communities indicate that patients hardly find drugs at health facilities.
“We spend sleepless nights delivering medicines but down there people think we are useless; they say they cannot even see panadol yet we have evidence of our deliveries that are signed by the health facility in-charge and the district health officer,” Kamabare said.
He said their delivery system involves a triplicate delivery note which the district health officer and the health centre in-charge sign and retain.
Kamabare called on MPs to inquire into the loss of medicines after they are delivered to health facilities.
Kamabare added that although NMS at times supplies quantities below the demands of the population due to budgetary constraints, there is need to account for the few quantities.
“We are asking that if we have supplied 55 mama kits, can that person who received them account for them and tell you the mothers that received them?” asked Kamabare.
Citing Parliament’s oversight mandate, he asked legislators to use their networks and monitor the delivery and utilisation of government medicines and supplies.
“Can you pick three of those mothers who received the mama kits and ask them whether they received them? What we are asking for is that let the little we give out be accounted for,” Kamabare said.
His plea came during a tour the new NMS warehouse in Kajjansi by the Members of Parliament on the Health Committee on Monday 24 August 2021.
Legislators committed to unearth the possible loopholes within the supply chain.
The Chairperson of the Committee, Dr Charles Ayume urged members to keep a watch over NMS delivery schedules and reports from patients, saying the root cause of theft should be discovered.
“Let us not sit back and listen to the usual rhetoric of the population; it could be an allegation, it could be true. It is in our mandate to go to the health facilities to ask them the necessary questions,” Ayume said adding that, “there are particular indicators you can use to see whether drugs were delivered.”
Ayume applauded NMS on their online ordering system dubbed, NMS Plus which allows health facilities to order for medicines online.