THE Ministry of Health is facing a shortfall of sh165.7b on drug supplies, the minister, Dr. Stephen Malinga, has said.
Appearing yesterday before the parliamentary committee on social services to defend his ministryâ€™s policy statement for this financial year, Malinga said sh140b of the shortfall was to cater for essential drugs.
Essential drugs are basic drugs used to treat common diseases. They also include laboratory and other medical supplies.
Malinga told the committee, chaired by MP James Kubeketerya (Bunya East), that the budget shortfall was calculated per drug expenditure of $5.5 (about sh8,800).
â€œWe donâ€™t have enough money to buy drugs. We would like the cooperation of MPs to raise our budget allocation to the required 15% of the total national budget instead of the 9% allocated to us,â€ he requested.
Malinga was flanked by the health state minister of general duties, Dr. Richard Nduhura and the permanent secretary, Mary Nanono.
The budget allocation to the health ministry this financial year is sh426.34b.
Malinga, however, assured MPs that his ministry was seeking financial assistance from development partners to have the deficit addressed. He added that some donors had agreed to support the purchase of some drugs.
The director general of health services, Dr. Sam Zaramba, said: â€œAlthough we still have drugs in stock, health centres would experience shortage of drug supplies if the deficit is not addressed.â€
MP Alice Alaso (Soroti) queried the sustainability of Anti-retroviral (ARV) drug supplies. She said it was wrong for the Government to rely on donors for the drugs.
Dr. Francis Epetait (Ngora) blamed the lack of coordination in the procurement of medical supplies for the wastage of resources.
Sam Byanagwa (Rukiga) said: â€œA shortfall of sh165b on drugs is too high. How can we help you in reducing it? We cannot afford playing on the lives of Ugandans.â€
Health ministry in sh165b shortfall