The National Drug Authority (NDA) has closed 283 drug shops in 14 districts in western region in the ongoing operation aimed at enforcing compliance to licensing requirements of drug outlets.
The operation, which started last week, is targeting Mbarara, Kanungu, Sheema, Ntungamo, Rukungiri, Kiruhura, Rubirizi, Kasese, Bushenyi, Mitooma, Isingiro, Ibanda, and Rubanda districts.
Mr Samuel Kyomukama, the NDA head of enforcement, on Friday said they had also impounded 362 boxes of assorted medicine valued at about Shs126.7m.
“The pilferage of government medicines from public health facilities compromises the quality of health service delivery and discredits government programmes,’’ Mr Kyomukama said.
Some of the closed drug shops lacked licences and qualified personnel.
Others were found in possession of government drugs.
Ms Farida Khauka, the NDA manager for south western region, said in Mbarara and Kiruhura, they found nurses operating veterinary drug shops while herbalists and children were running licensed and unlicensed drug shops.
“Medicine in the hands of unqualified persons exposes the population to wrong prescription, drug resistance and other health-related risks or complications, including death,’’ Ms Khauka said.
She added that in Ibanda Municipality, they found a herbalist who was running a clinic storing blood in syringes and had a faulty microscope.
Ms Khauka urged the public to support government in fighting wrong practices to improve health service delivery.
“Complying with drug outlets licensing requirements improves the quality of health service delivery to the population. We urge the public to join the Ministry of Health and NDA in the effort to eliminate the bad practices,” Ms Khauka said.
The NDA manager also advised the public to seek advice from qualified health workers and buy medicine from licensed drug shops or pharmacies.