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Uganda: Health Ministry Clarifies On ARV Drug Shortage

<p>Raymond Baguma</p>


August 2, 2013

THE ministry of health has attributed ARV drug stock outs to under quantification by in-charges of health facilities which has resulted in inadequate supplies of medicines and drugs to health facilities.

The state minister for health Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye was yesterday (Thursday) speaking at the Media Centre in response to press reports about the shortage of antiretroviral drugs in public health facilities across the country.

He acknowledged that the National Medical Stores (NMS) has been facing challenges in responding to orders by health facilities for drugs; but refuted reports of shortage of ARVs.

"Reports from the National Medical Stores show that the country is well stocked with ARVs and NMS has been delivering these drugs to all accredited health facilities in a timely manner as per their orders which are submitted through a web-based ordering system," Tumwesigye said.

He added, "The biggest challenge has been wrong quantification and under quantification of needs by these individual health facilities. This results into inadequacies of medicines and health supplies at the facility level. This is usually interpreted as under deliveries by NMS."

He appealed to health facilities to ensure that they place timely and correct orders to avoid drug stock outs.

He was accompanied by the director general of health services Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, Moses Kamabare the general manager of NMS and Dr. Alex Ario the national coordinator for care and treatment un the AIDS Control Programme.

He said the ministry of health is training health workers on how to operate the web-based ordering system for drugs. He also said that NMS plans to set up regional centres in the near future to address drug stock outs.

Dr. Tumwesigye said that every two months, NMS delivers drugs to all the 1,669 health facilities accredited by the AIDS Control Programme (ACP). He added that as of June this year a total of 566,460 eligible people are on antiretroviral treatment, which is an increase compared to 377,785 people in June last year.

"The drugs are delivered to the health to the health facility and are received by the in charges of the facilities in the presence of any member of the health management committee and security personnel from either the police or from the resident district commissioner's office," he added.



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