Finance ministry to blame for polio vaccine shortage – Opendi

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By Nelson Wesonga

Kampala. The Ministry of Health has blamed the Finance ministry for the stoppage in deliveries of polio vaccines.
State minister for Health in charge of General Duties, Ms Sarah Opendi, said the Finance ministry blocked the National Medical Stores (NMS) from freely drawing money from its (NMS) bank accounts to fuel the trucks that transport medicines and other health supplies.

While addressing Parliament yesterday, Ms Opendi said NMS now has to wait for the Finance ministry to release funds for procuring fuel for delivery trucks and truck drivers’ allowances.

“…the Permanent Secretary/Secretary to the Treasury [Keith Muhakanizi] wrote to NMS informing them that effective FY2018/19, NMS was to operate as ministries, departments and agencies…for the supply chain of EMHS [essential medicines and other health supplies] to run smoothly, there must be an uninterrupted flow of resources, especially funds,” Ms Opendi said.

Negative impact
She added that NMS operations are supply chain operations and any delays in availability of funds will ground the system to a halt, resulting in the stock out of medicines.

She said although NMS has funds on its accounts at the Standard Chartered Bank, Stanbic Bank and Bank of Uganda, the Accountant General (Mr Lawrence Semakula) had directed NMS to make payments on the Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS).

Ms Opendi’s accusations follow concerns raised by Ms Prossy Akampulira, the Rubanda District Woman MP, who said she had weeks earlier taken her child to Nakasero Hospital for polio jab and she was informed that the vaccines had run out. When she went to other health facilities, they too informed her they did not have polio vaccines.
The Finance ministry is expected to make a statement on the floor of Parliament tomorrow.

Monitor.co.ug

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