National Medical Stores (NMS) General Manager Moses Kamabare attributed the shortage of basic drugs in public hospitals to non-standardized prescription of drugs by some health workers and poor procurement planning by the hospital administration.
Kamabare said some health workers do not follow standard clinical guidelines for prescribing drugs, causing an artificial shortage.
He further blamed the poor procurement skills of some hospital administrations who fail to procure the most needed drugs and end up with unwanted expired drugs when they run out of drugs to give to patients.
“There are drugs that do the same job but a health worker will only prescribe one drug that sometimes is not in the pharmacy and yet the alternative is there but cannot be given because it has not. been prescribed. Sometimes the health worker prescribes a large number of medicines to a patient that are not needed, thus depriving other patients of the right to access free medicines, ”he said.
He added: “In addition, the hospital administration must understand the type of drugs it needs the most and obtain the right amount. In most cases, we deliver what is requested and receive shortage complaints again. Health workers and community leaders need to work together to solve these problems. “
It was during an engagement meeting for youth and women leaders which took place today at the head office of the NMS in Entebbe.
The meeting marked the start of the organization’s Silver Jubilee celebrations since its establishment by the government in 1993.
As part of the celebration, NMS will host 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 take place under the theme “innovations for effective and efficient service delivery”
During the meeting, Faridah Kyibowa, National Chairperson of the Women’s Council, questioned why there had been national complaints about the shortage of basic medicines, including first aid medicines, as NMS continued to say that there was no shortage and that the availability of drugs had reached 85%.
“I think we need to involve health workers so that our population does not continue to suffer and drugs are stored in stores,” she said.
Kamabare, in his official speech, called on women and young leaders to be advocates for good health in their region. He further asked them to work with their communities on disease prevention measures instead of waiting to get sick and looking for medicine.
“If all Ugandans followed basic disease prevention practices like washing hands, sleeping under mosquito nets, immunizing children, driving safely, using seat belts when traveling and eating healthy, there would be no need to spend so much money on drugs.
“Over 75% of all diseases in Uganda are preventable by taking basic healthy preventive measures. Avoid eating roadside foods without washing your hands, exercise and ensure good sanitation in your homes, ”he said.