Pallisa health units grapple with drug stock outs

However, health authorities still warn against self medication. PHOTO/COURTESY

What you need to know:

  • The NMS public relations officer, Ms Sheila Nduhukire, acknowledged the delayed distribution of drugs to the district.

Several government health centres in Pallisa District are grappling with an acute shortage of drugs, Daily Monitor has learnt.

National Medical Stores (NMS) has not supplied them with drugs for the past four months, according to staff and leaders of the health facilities .

A health worker attached to Kasodo Health Centre III in Kasodo Sub-county, who declined not to be named for fear of reprisal, told Daily Monitor at the weekend that the number of patients visiting the health centre has dwindled because of lack of drugs.

“The patients used to come in large numbers but they would be told that there are no drugs and the numbers have since gone down,” the source said.

When we visited Pallisa hospital at the weekend, the patients said the health workers only prescribe for them the drugs and they proceed to buy from private clinics and pharmacies in Pallisa Town Council.

“It’s not only me complaining. Everybody admitted here is being told to buy drugs from private clinics and pharmacies,” Mr John Okiror, a patient, said.

Mr Moses Okurut, a caretaker at the hospital, said he had also been buying drugs for his patient.  

“They advised me to buy the required drugs from outside because the hospital has run out of drugs. I have so far spent more than Shs230,000 on drugs only,” he said.

What leaders say
The district health officer, Dr Godfrey Mulekwa, acknowledged that since May, NMS has not delivered drugs to government health facilities in the area.

“The situation is bad and at times, we go an extra mile to move to other districts to seek some drugs,” he said.
 “The patients are being urged to source some of these out-of-stock drugs from private health clinics until the situation normalises,” he added.

Pallisa with a population of about  400,000 people has a total of 16 health facilities, including the district hospital.

He added that most of the patients admitted to the hospital and other health facilities suffer from malaria.

The NMS public relations officer, Ms Sheila Nduhukire, acknowledged the delayed distribution of drugs to the district.

“This is because NMS prioritised distribution of personal protective equipment (PPEs), Covid-19 vaccines and vaccines for children,” she said.

“We are going to deliver the other medicines and the district will be receiving drugs by end of next week,” she added.