Automated tracking system to stop theft of medical supplies – Atwine

Monday April 19 2021
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L-R: NMS General Manager Moses Mamabare and Ministry of Health PS Dr Diana Atwine hand over a certificate to Mr William Komaketch a delivery clerk in Entebbe. Photo | Paul Adude

By Paul Adude

The Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Health, Dr Diana Atwine, has said they are set to adopt an automated tracking systems in a bid to stop the theft of medical supplies during distribution to health facilities and communities across the country.

“As the ministry continues to strengthen and improve the system, we want to strengthen the accountability, not only just nets but other supplies that we take to the hospitals, communities. We are going to move away from manual systems to embrace digital systems that can actually help us in real-time, report, verify and make sure we have value for money,” she said on Friday after awarding certificates to 200 National Medical Stores (NMS) delivery clerks who were involved in the recent distribution of mosquito nets across the country.

“Initially, the partners didn’t believe we have mechanisms to strengthen that distribution channel, they would use NGOs. We have worked with NMS to ensure nets are distributed up to sub-county level and were able to be tracked in real-time,” she said.

Ms Atwine said the automation of the tracking of medical supplies will stop the theft of medical supplies along with the distribution channels and improve the ministry’s efficiency.

“We started a system whereby we use a phone to capture the mosquito nets at households but it was very low, it had just been developed. We believe that between now and the next distribution, we shall perfect it, link it to their (NMS) system and upgrade our systems to make sure that we are able to account for the nets at community levels in real-time,” she said.

The General Manager NMS Mr Moses Kamabare said the use of a technological tracking system that monitors what is happening in real-time from the time of loading to the time of delivery at the sub-county levels ensures safe delivery of supplies.

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“We were able to tell the nets received in the warehouses, whether they have been certified by the National Drug Authority or not, how many have been distributed and how many were remaining among other things,” he said.

Mr Kamabare said they were able to combat theft of the nets by unscrupulous people which occurred along the way during previous campaigns carried out by the Ministry Of Health.

“Previously, some of the nets would get loaded onto the truck but would not arrive in the quantity they had been loaded. We had to get in touch with security to ensure nothing gets picked from the truck until it arrives at its final destination,” he said.

Mr Kamabare said 28.4 million nets were delivered successfully, making a 100 percent delivery.

“The donors sent 28.8 million nets with an excess of 400,000 nets surplus due to past experiences, we still have the 400,000 nets in our warehouses as the ministry plans for them,” he said.

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