Public health facilities have been hit by a massive stock out of medicines and other supplies, especially those used to assist mothers deliver.
Hospitals have reportedly run out of maternal commodities such as oxytocin drug used to stop post-delivery haemorrhage, gloves, syringes, and catheters.
“It is true, our hands are tied. We don’t have sundries and some drugs, and it has taken quite some time. My work is technical and if there is nothing to use, I have to wait until the mother buys,” a senior gynaecologist at Kawempe General Hospital, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of victimisation, said.
Similar cases have been reported in other public health facilities such as Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital where mothers are asked to buy assortments of drugs and sundries instead of the standard one mama kit.
A mama kit package contains a one metre piece of cotton cloth (baby wrapper), one laundry soap, a pair of gloves, a piece of cotton wool, small gauze, cord ligature, and a metre of polythene sheet, which is used on the delivery table.
However, the list of items seen by Daily Monitor, which mothers at Kawempe and Mbarara Hospitals are now asked to carry before they are delivered of their babies include the oxytocin drugs, catheter, stitches, six pairs of gloves, and syringes (5mls) among others.
Mr Enock Kasasira, the Mulago hospital spokesperson, confirmed the stock-outs, saying the glitches usually occur at the end of each financial year when they have exhausted their budgets.
“Kawempe gets more affected because they deliver mothers in bigger numbers and these are all emergency conditions,” Mr Kasasira noted in a telephone interview yesterday.
When contacted, the NMS spokesperson, Mr Dan Kimosho, said the problem was countrywide. “…We have already delivered all the vaccines. We are now embarking on the delivery of essential medicines and supplies and expect to have traversed the whole country by mid this month,” Dr Kimosho said.
Not new. The challenge of stock outs of medicines and other supplies in public health facilities in the country remains perennial and most of the time been attributed to poor coordination between the Finance ministry and NMS. Findings from a 2017 survey indicate that the country’s success in reducing maternal mortality rate might be reversed by the consistent stock out of sexual and reproductive health commodities across public, private and mission health facilities.