• Oct 14, 2021 . 3 min Read
  • Hoima residents decry drug stockouts

Martins Eyura, assistant District Health Officer (DHO) Soroti district says that drug stockouts will always happen unless facilities adopt good planning and estimation. (Credit: Ritah Mukasa)
Ritah Mukasa
Journalist @New Vision

HEALTH | HOIMA | DRUG STOCKOUTS

HOIMA - For over 20 years, Jennifer Nsita,  a mother of six and residing at Dwoli village in Hoima district has been receiving medical treatment from Dwoli health centre III.

The 38-year-old says that at this facility, they are treated for illnesses such as malaria, cough, headaches and other infections. The complicated cases are referred to Hoima hospital.

“The nurses handle us well. After testing, they give us drugs,” she says.

However, there are times the facility runs out of drugs.

Nsita says in such circumstances, they are advised to buy them from pharmacies or wait until the National Medical Stores (NMS) delivers.

“I appreciate the government for availing us with drugs but they should add us more because sickness can’t wait,” she appeals.

In the same vein, Immaculate Kiiza Bagonza, 38, resident of Wagaisa village, Kitoba Sub County, in Hoima district who also gets treatment from Dwoli health centre III says that doctors give patients drugs depending on the ailment.

John Babyenda, chairman Kigorobya 1 cell appeals to policymakers to increase the health budget for health facilities to get enough drugs. (Credit: Ritah Mukasa)

John Babyenda, chairman Kigorobya 1 cell appeals to policymakers to increase the health budget for health facilities to get enough drugs. (Credit: Ritah Mukasa)

For example, she recently reported a high temperature at the facility. She was tested, diagnosed with malaria and given antimalarial and paracetamol.

Unfortunately, a few days later, her eldest son fell ill and he was diagnosed with typhoid but the facility didn’t have drugs. She was compelled to buy from the pharmacy.

“We receive the drugs at no cost but they usually run out. The nurses advise us to wait for the next delivery or buy from private pharmacies,” she says.

At the DHO’s clinic located in Hoima city, Sylvia Sanyu, a mother of three says her family has been receiving treatment from this clinic for over 10 years.

She appreciates the free treatment she gets but expresses dissatisfaction over the adequate laboratory services.

The stay at home mother of three says they receive free treatment for malaria, cough, headaches and stomach pains among others. Unfortunately, the patients are not tested. They are instead advised to go to a government laboratory. Once one presents the results, one is given drugs.

“We receive drugs for free but if they run out of stock, they advise us to buy from pharmacies,” she says.

Kusemererwa Alinaitwe, an enrolled nurse and theatre attendant who has served at Kigorobya Health centre IV for close to two years says that once the drugs get finished, the wards remain empty and patients shun the facility.

“Medicines are delivered on time but they run out so fast. When the patients are told that there are no drugs they stay away,” she explains.

“But when we receive a delivery, wards fill up. I don’t know how patients know that we have received drugs. Government should increase the quantity,” she suggests.

David Andia, senior clinical officer and in charge of Kigorobya Health centre IV in Hoima hails NMS for delivering medicines and medical supplies to the facilities at the grassroots. He adds that this has improved service delivery and drugs availability.

“We feel we are receiving the right drugs. Delivery time has also improved,” he notes adding that before the last-mile delivery, drugs could get lost along the way.

Andia adds that with this system they can easily harmonize demand and supply and also check issues of theft, quality and expiries.

However, he says that the drugs run out of stock in a short time. After, patients complain that there are no drugs in the facilities.

“The quantities should be increased because the population keeps growing as well,” he opines.

John Babyenda, chairman Kigorobya 1 cell appeals to policymakers to increase the health budget for health facilities to get enough drugs.

However, Martins Eyura, assistant District Health Officer (DHO) Soroti district says that drug stockouts will always happen unless facilities adopt good planning and estimation.

He suggests that If the delivery is made and the facility in charge finds that a particular medicine is in high demand as it is with antimalarials during the rainy season when they get finished, the facility should use a request form. Then the team can redistribute.

On the form, one indicates what they have in stock and what is needed. They look around in other facilities with excess.

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