By Moses Nampala
The medicine and health services delivery monitoring unit together with security personnel in Tororo district have unearthed a drug-theft racket.
The group is said to have been operating across more than 15 districts in eastern Uganda.
Preliminary findings show that most of the drugs disbursed to public health facilities in the districts were always collected, packed in containers and ferried either to Kenya or South Sudan.
A Kenyan national arrested in Tororo town on Thursday was found with HIV testing kits and drugs said to have been disbursed to Tororo Hospital by the National Medical Stores.
The assistant director ofthe unit in eastern Uganda, Mpata Owagage, on Monday told the press that the suspect had since named his accomplices.
Four workers, including three laboratory technicians were detained and interrogated by the Police.
The Police said the suspects confessed diverting part of the drug allocations to their respective health units.
“When National Medical Stores disburses the drugs to the public health facilities, they are secretly collected by this network sold to buyers who usually come from Kenya and South Sudan,” Owagage said.
He said they had obtained very valuable information from the suspects.
“The information we have obtained will enable us get more people in the other districts of the region,” Owagage said.
The unit’s legal officer, Balamu Luswata, yesterday said the suspects were likely to appear in court on criminal counts of theft and unlawful possession of government items among others.
He stressed that on conviction, the suspects, who are also health workers would summarily be dismissed from public service.
The medicine and health delivery monitoring unit was established by President Yoweri Museveni in 2010 at the due the reported theft of medical supplies from public health facilities. The unit is headed by Dr. Diana Atwine.
It has unearthed several unscrupulous dealings in the drug-supply chain from the National Medical Stores to public health facilities.
According to Owagage, they have so far recovered drugs worth sh3b across the country.
Drugs stolen from Ugandan hospitals sold in Congo