NMS is charged with the responsibility of providing essential, affordable, quality and efficiently distributed medical products. The issue of drugs expiring at NMS is therefore not inevitable as the Acting General Manager Apollo Mwesige argues (New Vision, November 21, 2006).
Why should ARVs or any other drug expire amidst reports of shortage in many medical centres? Some of the reasons given for the expiry are not excusable and show management gaps.
Health sub-districts that do not follow the requisition schedules provided miss out until the next delivery cycle. Another reason for shortages is that some health facilities do not have the capacity to quantify their needs. They, in most cases, ask for drugs which cannot take them through the next delivery period.
There is need to review the drug requisition system at NMS. Rather than blame expiry of drugs on inefficient or unskilled mangers at the medical centres, NMS and other stakeholders should join hands to create a national computerised stock management system that will be used to budget, inform demand and manage stock distribution.
Also contracts of managers at NMS should be reviewed to hold them accountable for drugs that expire in their stores. That way they will ensure proper coordination with the Ministry of Health and the medical centres so that consumers are advised on drugs that are available but have not been requisitioned.
Review drug requisition at NMS