Covid-19: My appeal to pharmacists

Wednesday March 25 2020

At a time like this, I want to share my proposals with the nation before things get out of hand.
Amid this corona pandemic, we have been tasked to lead a nation of scared citizens to restore health and supply sanity in our country.

It is true that the supply chains have all been inverted globally hence supply is uncertain during this pandemic. Along with founded panic, the demand for both supplies and medicines has increased in a social media frenzy.

Prices have soared and will continue to do so as the virus cuts down all our supply sources. In an effort to restore sanity, we request pharmacists to reserve a minimum stock of supplies and medication (not for sale) to be donated to supplement the use by their area health workers/region incase the need arises.

This reserve will create more pockets of supplies down the supply chain system to be used by our brothers, doctors and nurses in time of need.

The truth is that we all need these sales, especially now when demand is so assured, but as the cases increase, the people to whom we sell gloves, chloroquine and face masks will not surrender them to the health professionals to treat those who will be infected in time to save their lives as they wait for their own turn.

Also, we will not be able to trace them even if they are willing to return them. We have been called upon to put life first in all we do.


A pharmacy where I work will reserve the packs of gloves for this cause if the Health Ministry or Wakiso District authorities calls for them. We implore others to do the same with other supplies that can support this cause, not limited to gloves, face masks, protective wear and pharmacueticals.

We call upon the Pharmacuetical Society of Uganda #PSU to collate the information of the available supplies from the willing participants to remain the custodian of this database on behalf of the Ministry of Health.

We call upon the National Drug Authority #NDA to classify the affected pharmaceuticals for this period in an effort to reduce their unlicensed sale and reserve them for the health professionals to treat the cases.

We call upon our clients, Ugandans to disinfect their hands. Follow the Ministry of Health guidelines for prevention. Do not use or hoard the supplies unless you cannot help it based on the nature of your work. Your medical professionals need them more than you do. And you will need the medical professionals when you get infected.

Let’s help each other and solve the scarcity. We have also requested citizens who may have hoarded stock to reach out to their nearest pharmacy and donate them to the cause.

We look forward and depend on you our community to pass this message and recruit more professionals.

I listened to Ministry of Health officials and also keenly followed the emotions and reactions on Covid-19, with dismay.

The first case of coronavirus was professionally managed, but the additional eight cases have been mishandled to the extent that it will drastically affect the economy and alarm the entire population.

The manner in which we have managed our information on coronavirus is both exciting and alarming. I have heard unsubstantiated information shared and moreover not generated by those sharing them.

Going forward, Uganda is likely to mismanage the pandemic. The Ministry of Health may need to change its public engagement and communication strategy to reduce panic and fear in the population.

It is fear that is making prices of basic goods and services to skyrocket.

For instance, the price of items such as soap, detergents, masks, salt, etc, which offer solution to the pandemic have increased by more than 100 per cent. And due to panic, no one seems to bother. Why, for instance, should lab results complete with names and other details be shared with the public?

Uganda has experienced epidemic like Ebola. We managed it differently and better. There is an element of populism being exhibited in the fight against Covid-19 at all levels.

The presidential guidelines were spot on. Let the people concerned ensure their implementation. Otherwise, we are bound to make big mistakes, even leading to scarcity of essential goods and services.

The population requires emotional healing amid this pandemic. China is a case in point as one country that has contained the pandemic. They first banned sensational information dissemination and focused on mobilising the medical and social response.