Kasese, Masaka, Lwengo and Iganga districts are top culprits in smuggling government drugs out of the country, Dr Diana Atwine has said.
Atwine, director of the Medicines and Health Service Delivery Monitoring Unit (MHSDMU), said on Tuesday that her team found that drugs were being sold in Congo. She said patients in Congo were paying twice the price for any pack labelled ‘Government of Uganda’. Atwine was meeting health workers from Masaka regional referral hospital, district security personnel, political leaders, and managers of different health units.
“Even recently we intercepted some drugs being smuggled to Congo from Kasese, prompting us to intensify our inspection not only in the four districts but even other districts,” Atwine said at Masaka hospital.
Atwine cited some health units within Masaka municipality where the drugs delivered in the morning have found their way out by midday. She cautioned the district health officer to be more vigilant, and warned health workers against extorting money from patients for these medicines.
Flanked by her deputy Pontiano Jjumba, Atwine pronounced herself surprised that most of the theatres that were constructed and fully equipped at several health sub-districts had remained non-functional for over seven years.
“This explains why the regional referral hospital is ever congested but the over-congestion can be controlled by stopping unnecessary referrals,” she said.
She further lamented that none of the government health facilities in Masaka had a functional ambulance, yet records indicated that some had. They, instead, had double cabin pickups working as ambulances, which could not help such patients as pregnant mothers.
In some units, Atwine and her team either found boxes of unused medicines, condoms or unnecessary equipment such as microscopes while other units lacked the same. Substantial stocks of drugs were nearing their expiry date.
The Masaka district director of health services, Dr Stuart Musisi, explained that condoms would be given to other partners such as Taso for distribution. Atwine attacked unprofessional doctors who operate on patients even when there is no need, just because they want to extract surgery fees from the already burdened caregivers.
Source : The Observer