RDCs must lead fight against medicine theft

Michael Segawa 

What you need to know:

  • I urge the populace to never remain silent if they witness someone stealing medical supplies from the government.

The Inspector General of Government (IGG) report for 2022 states that corruption costs Uganda Shs25 million per day, depriving its residents of essential services, including access to healthcare and medications.

Medical professionals are hoarding public medications to overcharge patients or even divert the medications to personal clinics, according to many media reports.

Stolen public drugs and other medical supplies, including syringes and gloves, have been discovered in private drug shops, according to cases reported by the National Drug Authority.

As a result, public health facilities lack the essential tools and medications for treating patients, particularly in rural areas.

Without the need for calls, site visits, or reports, every minister in Uganda should be able to keep an eye on the flow of patients and healthcare at health facilities, such as Jinja Referral Hospital or Walukuba Health Centre IV, in real time.

However, these mechanisms should be made available to the Internal Security Organisation (ISO) personnel, Criminal Investigations Directorate of police, State House Health Monitoring Unit, and other relevant supervisors so that they can identify and punish any officers who violate the system.

Every medicine will be tracked in this way, and an audit can be raised at various points and the degree of neglect can be determined with the press of a button.

Resident District Commissioner’s (RDCs) must, moreover, be instrumental in the fight against drug theft on behalf of the government.

RDCs are fortunate to have a minister who has appropriately provided instructions on observing government initiatives in their respective districts.

The Presidency Minister, Ms Milly Babalanda, and the Permanent Secretary in the same ministry, Mr Yunus Kakande, provide frequent memos on service delivery and have enlisted organisations to assist RDCs in carrying out this work, including the State House Anti-Corruption Unit, IGG, ISO, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), and Manifesto Implementation Unit, among others.

Because of this, many civil workers who misuse their positions or steal from the tax payers have been arrested.

The legal system should not absolve people involved in drug theft or slow down the prosecution procedure.

RDCs have played a key role in recognising these issues with service delivery, and they continue to educate local authorities and grassroots groups about the risks of corruption, such as drug theft.

I urge the populace to never remain silent if they witness someone stealing medical supplies from the government.

We should all follow the President’s directive to stop corruption, especially the stealing of medical supplies from the government. This vice can be effectively stopped by an educated populace.

RDCs in all parts of the country are under instruction from the Office of the President to rein in these parasitic tendencies. If we get hold of these thieves, and we have proper laws to keep them behind bars for enough time, we shall make drug theft a no-go area.


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