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New Guidelines on Disposal of Expired Drugs Stir Uproar

The guidelines which were recently sent to District Health Officials indicating that the Local Governments will bear the cost of destroying expired drugs. The district will pay 565,000 Shillings to NMS for every 1000 kilograms of expired drugs. The money covers the cost of collection, transport and destruction.

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New policy guidelines issued by National Medical Stores on the destruction of expired drugs and other medical supplies have triggered anger among authorities in Nakasongola district.

The guidelines which were recently sent to District Health Officials indicating that the Local Governments will bear the cost of destroying expired drugs. The district will pay 565,000 Shillings to NMS for every 1000 kilograms of expired drugs. The money covers the cost of collection, transport and destruction.

National Medical Stores has been collecting all expired drugs and destroying them without any cost implication to the districts.

Solomon Ssonko, the Nakasongola District Chief Administrative Officer fears that the move will affect health service delivery since NMS will make deductions off the budget allocated to the district for medical supplies.

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Medical wastes are considered toxic, infectious and to an extent, radioactive posing a great danger to Human health, the environment and wildlife.

Doctor Agaba Byamukama the Nakasongola District Health Officer explains that over time drugs expire because NMS delivers them late and others are unrequested for.

Agaba adds it will be unfair to divert funds for the provision of medical supplies, to cover the cost of destruction when fails to perform its duty in time. He also decried low funding to health centres.

Nakasongola district is currently in possession of 1.5 tonnes of expired drugs as part of its stock.

District authorities have now petitioned members of the Public Finance Management forum seeking their intervention to block NMS from implementing the guidelines. The members led by Kinkizi West MP James Kaberuka and Nakasongola County MP Noah Mutebi committed to seeking answers from NMS on the matter.

But Dan Kimosho, the Spokesperson of National Medical Stores explains that Parliament doesn't allocate any money to NMS for disposal of expired drugs which, however, has become a huge cost burden to the organisation.

Kimosho added that the guidelines were issued after a letter from the Director General of Health Services indicating that the strategy will improve stock management in the units.

He, however, advised the health centre in charges to manage drug stocks well and reject drugs that are delivered close to their expiry dates.  Kimosho adds that NMS is in talks with two partners who have expressed interest in funding the collection, transport and incineration of the expired medicines.

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