The matter stems from three past Auditor General Reports for financial year 2016/2017, financial year 2017/2018 and financial year 2018/2019. In the financial year 2016/2017report, 4.6 billion shillings was disbursed to NMS and another 5 billion Shillings sent according to the 2017/2018 to procure stationary, uniforms and others. However the money has since accumulated to 13 billion according to the Ministry of Health.
According to the lawyer, the use of the IFMS budgeting and accounting system on money that National Medical Stores gets from donors is unlawful since the system is mandated to only manage public funds. He says that current application of the system on such monies is unqualified
The stores delivered a consignment of medicines for the first quarter of the financial year 2017/2018 about two weeks ago. However, artesunate, the recommended treatment of choice for severe malaria in adults was not among the drugs.
The recommendation followed reports from the Auditor General and District Public Accounts Committee indicating that health centres received fewer supplies from National Medical Stores than allocated in their annual budgets.
Dr. Stuart Musisi, the Masaka District Health Officer, says National Medical Stores never supplied them malaria drugs in the last quarter. He however, declined to divulge details on the matter, saying he is locked up in an important meeting.
But during cross examination by Gerald Karuhanga, the PAC vice chairperson, NMS officials insisted that they have never received any funds despite receiving confirmation from the Finance Ministry that the money was ready.
Dr. Sinani Mabuya, the Deputy In-charge Luweero Health Centre IV explains that the last batch of artesunate drugs they received in March 2017 didnt last for two weeks because of the high malaria cases. According to Mabuya, they have since then been advising malaria patients to buy artesunate from pharmacies outside the health centre before they can be treated.
Parliament has tasked the Finance ministry to explain the current drug crisis experienced by the National Medical Stores NMS despite a 156-billion-Shilling loan approved by the Ninth Parliament. The money was part of a bigger 200-million-Dollar loan that parliament okayed from the Preferential Trade Area Bank, commonly known as the PTA Bank.
Pontiano Jjumba, the Assistant Director, the State House Health Monitoring Unit, says they have apprehended more than 300 people the unit started work. He says those arrested include doctors, nurses, medical intern students, pharmacists and individuals masquerading as health workers.
Moses Kamabare, the NMS General Manager, says government only allocated Shillings 5.7 billion out of the Shillings 45 billion in the 2016/2017 financial year for the purchase of the anti-malarial drugs.
National Medical Stores pays US Dollars 69 230,000 Shillings for the Efavirenz drug whose global price is US dollars 20 66,000 Shillings. He also noted that Nevirapine 200mg is purchased by NMS at US Dollars 36. 6 122,000 Shillings, contrary to the global price 24 US Dollars 80,000 Shillings.
Kalangala District Medical Officer Dr Hillary Bitakalamire says that the current allocation of 15 million Shillings for the purchase of medicines is inadequate for the district, which is made up of 84 Islands.
The hospital management had issued a notice to patients, advising them to get the required medicines and supplies from the open market. The notice issued on August 17 indicated that supplies that were out of stock included sutures, catheters, cannulas, syringes, cotton wool, gauze, ultrasound gel, plasters and a collection of drugs.
Hajara Nalumansi recently traveled from Kawempe to Naguru hospital, where she was diagnosed with severe malaria. According to Nalumansi, she was advised to seek medical attention elsewhere since the hospital had neither Artesunate nor quinine.
Robert Kalumba, the KCCA Deputy spokesperson told URN on phone they suspended the yellow fever vaccination because they run out of vaccines. City Hall Clinic has been conducting yellow fever vaccination at Shillings 100,000, which is slightly higher compared to the charges at accredited health facilities.
The demand for the yellow fever vaccine has also shot up in Uganda following the confirmation of an outbreak of yellow fever in Masaka district a month ago. The vaccine is mostly demanded by persons traveling to high risk countries.