Availability of reproductive health commodities still low in health facilities -study

The availability of sexual and reproductive health (SRHR) commodities in both public and private health facilities, has further reduced by one percent from last year to 36 percent, according to the 2019 study report.

The study was conducted by the Coalition for Health Promotion and Social Development (HEPS) Uganda in partnership with Health Action International (HAI) and the Ministry of Health.

The SRHR commodities cover male and female contraceptives, medicines for the prevention and management of postpartum hemorrhage, management of pre-eclampsia and eclampsia, treatment for maternal syphilis, treatment for pregnancy-induced hypertension, antibiotics for maternal and neonatal sepsis and pneumonia, anti-anaemia among others.

"Private sector facilities had the lowest availability of SRH commodities (31 percent) while availability in public and mission sector facilities was 38 and 40 percent, respectively," the report reads in part.

"There was no marked difference in availability of commodities for urban and rural facilities," the report reads further.

The study uses a cross sectional design with quantitative methods and semi-final structured questionnaire adapted from the standardised HAI-WHO methodology for measuring medicine prices, availability, affordability and price components. Data were collected on the availability and out-of -pocket patient prices of SRH in the public, private and mission sectors.

Ms Neville Okuwa Oteba, the commissioner Pharmacy department at ministry of Health while commenting on the study report said that despite the low availability of medicines and commodities, there is an alarming wastage of the same which expire in health facilities stores.

"To solve that problem we are improving on the electronic system which traces availability and accountability. National Medical stores is in the process of installing the system and that system will be linked to the health system and it will help us to trace what medical stores has given to that facility and how it has been used, "Ms Oteba said last week during the release of the study report.

The study report aimed at generating reliable information on the price, availability and affordability of selected essential commodities in the SRH supply chain, with the ultimate goal of improving access to affordable medicines for all.