ADJUMANI, UGANDA: The Adjumani District general referral hospital and all other lower-level health facilities are experiencing acute drugs stockouts as the management of National Medical Stores is crying foul over the financial wreckage caused by the demoralizing Covid-19.
When DailyExpress visited the hospital on Thursday (today) morning, the medical clinical officers all seem demotivated as children who were diagnosed with malaria were in deplorable conditions and their eyes glazing as tears rolled down the cheeks of their quivering hapless mothers after they were referred to private pharmacies since the only available anti-malaria in the hospital is corterm.
Bunia Angela,65, says she has spent two weeks in the medical ward after she was diagnosed with malaria and was later referred to the surgical ward for surgery. Bunia narrates that she currently has no hope of returning home alive since she has exhausted her savings of shs 100,000 yet more money is required for buying strong anti-biotic drugs
The surgical ward that used to be a beehive of activities has been deserted as those who can afford to prefer to be operated in private clinics because the hospital has simply become an investigative center.
The Adjumani hospital medical superintendent Dr.Ambaku Michael speaking to journalists said the hospital last received a consignment of drugs and other medical supplies in September 2021.
“We cannot execute sensation in the hospital in the absence of drugs and other medical supplies, the only thing we do is a diagnosis and we refer patients to private pharmacies” Dr. Ambaku lamented.
He said for four months the hospital management has been begging drugs from health development partners and veiled that the pleading cannot go on indefinitely.
The hospital according to Dr. Ambaku has been sourcing funds for buying sundries in the theatre and other drugs for emergencies after surgeries which can only be assessed from the private wing.
The Adjumani district District Health Officer [DHO] Dr.Drametu Dominic when approached conceded that it is a countrywide crisis and blamed it on the breakdown in supply chain and distribution by the National Medical Stores [NMS] and considers NMS is reneging on its responsibilities.
Dr. Drametu said. “The district has been surviving on support from UNFPA, LWF, AVSI, JRS and the UN refugee agency, if it wasn’t for their support Adjumani should have been in deep trouble, “As government, we should have done better”.
The district has long ago disbursed shs 214m for supplying drugs for Adjumani hospital and another shs 90m for consignment of drugs to lower-level health units but to date, the drugs have not been delivered.
He said regrettably most partners are scaling down on their funding due to the worldwide covid-19, pandemic.
Ostensibly disconsolate Dr.Drametu Dominic said he is now fatigued with borrowing drugs because as the government it is shameful to borrow from the partners that you supervise.
The General manager NMS Moses Kamabare has circulated a hurried circular Ref:22/6, dated January 10, 2022, to all the medical superintendents’ of general referral hospitals, directors of regional referral hospitals, and DHOs among others, about the dilemma which he explains has been triggered by the global Covid-19, pandemic while conveying that the 2nd and 3rd circles of drugs consignments will be delivered in February 2022.
“Due to the unforeseen Covid-19, related challenges that necessitated pritiosation and fastened delivery of Covid-19, vaccines and related supplies across the entire country among other factors, planned circle deliveries for the financial year 2021-2022, as per our earlier shared delivery schedule have henceforth been disrupted”. The letter reads in part.
The general manager, Moses Kamabare, again doubtfully states that in a bid to catch up with the lost delivery timelines as per the delivery schedule, NMS will be effecting a combined delivery of cycle 4 and 5 supplies to all facilities in one go across the entire country.
The communication from Kamabare who has very close ties with the first family has been treated by many health managers in the country as disaster public relations because such empty and grandiose statements have been the communication phrase of NMS since the country was hit by the Corona pandemic.
The former Adjumani town council chairman, who also contested for Adjumani West Parliamentary seat on FDC ticket, Tandrupasi Patrick, wondered as to why the parliamentary committee on health is not raising a red flag on the matter on the floor of parliament since the issue is a matter of national importance.
Mr. Tandrupasi Patrick said, parliament is passing supplementary budgets almost daily, but has disregarded the cries of the vulnerable citizens who depend on government health service delivery while describing the drugs predicament as a national shame.
The Adjumani district chairman described the situation as disturbing and alluded to the fact it is a nationwide issue and the district cannot do much to save the situation since the allocations for drugs, procurement, and supplies is handled by the central government.
Mr. Anyama Ben however said, he has instructed the Secretary of Health, Mr.Sabunis John to liaise with the technical officers and make an emergency assessment of the situation for informed decision making even if the district is restrained.
Adjumani district has one general referral hospital a health center IV and 43 lower level health units serving a population of 224,044 refugees mainly from Southern Sudan and a host population of 237,400 which totals close to 500,000.
Apparently, no known case has been registered in the district due to the ravaging acute drugs stockouts, but the vulnerable citizens form the largest vote block on who should rule the country are feeling the sharp smidgeon.
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