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Shortage of Medical Supplies Cripples Services at Kitgum Hospital

According to reports from the hospital administrators, the health facility has for long been faced with a shortage of drugs and other medical supplies which include x-ray films, surgical and examination gloves and detergents due to under-supply by the National Medical Stores- NMS.
Patients and their attendants at Kitgum General Hospital. Photo By Julius Ocungi

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Insufficient essential drugs and medical supplies are crippling health service delivery at Kitgum General Hospital.

According to reports from the hospital administrators, the health facility has for long been faced with a shortage of drugs and other medical supplies which include x-ray films, surgical and examination gloves and detergents due to under-supply by the National Medical Stores- NMS.

Bezy Omoya, the Kitgum General Hospital Senior Administrator, says that they recently received fewer supplies of drugs and medical gears, compared to what they had requested for. Omoya says the hospital had generated requisition for drugs and medical supplies worth  72 million Shillings in the last cycle but NMS only supplied 72 per cent of their request valued at only 51 million Shillings.

For instance, he cites that the hospital requested for 4,000 bottles of 60mg of Artesunate injection for malaria treatment but only received 1,500 despite rising cases of Malaria.

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He says the consistent under-delivery of essential drugs especially for Malaria, diabetes, hypertension is greatly affecting their service delivery.

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Michael Otto, one of the patients who visited the Hospital Laboratory says that he spent two hours in a queue waiting to undergo a medical test.

Dr Alex Olwedo, Kitgum District Health Officer says he was unaware of the current inadequate supply of drugs at the facility and requested for time to verify before commenting.

Emmanuel Ainebyoona, the Ministry of Health Spokesperson says drugs and medical supplies are always supplied by NMS according to the budget of each hospital and wondered whether Kitgum had the budget for what they requested.

Rogers Edward Ochan, the NMS regional representative at Gulu Regional Referral Hospital, says the artesunate being supplied is restricted to certain quantity since its being financed by Global fund. Ochan notes that currently, each hospital is getting 1,500 doses of artesunate while health centres are being supplied only 500 doses of artesunate.

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He, however, says the hospital administration have to invest time in preparing their procurement plans that match their budget allocation.

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This is not the first time Kitgum General Hospital has had challenges of under-delivery and delayed supply of medicines and medical equipment. Early this year, the facility was hit with drug stock out for nearly a month paralyzing service delivery.