Minister urges new National Medical Stores board on transparency



Health minister Jane Aceng has urged the new National Medical Stores (NMS) board to strengthen information sharing, especially on distribution of medicines to health facilities in the country.
Speaking at the inauguration of the board in Kampala yesterday, Dr Aceng said keeping the public aware of the body’s activities will go a long way in addressing issues such as drugs being stocked and yet (they) not claimed by the public.
“The population wants to know when medicines are supplied to the facilities and therefore need to strengthen the procedure,” she said.
Dr Aceng said there needs to be close collaboration between NMS and district officials who demand.
“Whatever is planned for should be based on statistics and with seasonal variation, there should be sharing of information to avoid getting expired drugs in our (health) facilities,” Dr Aceng said.

The new NMS board led by Dr Jotham Musinguzi was approved early this month following the expiry of the tenure of the previous board led by Dr Phillip Byarugaba.
The other members of the new board include Mr Laban Mbulamuko, Mr Kenneth Omoding, Ms Kate Nalukenge, Ms Naome Kibaaju, Dr Christine Ondoa, Mr Richard Mugahi and Mr Emmanuel Osuna.
Others are Ms Beatrice Lagada, Mr Shaban Abdullah and Dr Timothy Musila.
Dr Jotham Musinguzi said they would channel their efforts to prevention of the communicable diseases so as to reduce the NMS budget since these diseases are preventable. The new board has also pledged to sort out the problem of expired drugs.

Customer care
The NMS also flagged off seven customer care vehicles worth about Shs840m that are to be distributed to Gulu, Mbale, Soroti, Hoima, Kabarole, Mbarara, and Kampala in order to take services closer to the people.
The NMS General Manager, Mr Moses Kamabare, rubbished claims by the Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI), that the drug distribution body inflate prices of cancer drugs.
“In all cases, UCI always demanded that NMS should procure medicines of a high quality standard, specifically USFDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) or equivalent standard …thus by UCI asking for USFDA medicines or equivalent , they were in effect demanding for ‘highly priced’ medicines,” Mr Kamabare said.

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