NDA impounded 121 boxes of drugs parked at their offices in Arua.
NDA DRUG SHOPS ARREST
Officials of National Drug Authority NDA, with support from Uganda Police Force in a one-week operation, closed 157 drug shops and arrested 5 people.
The operation that went to six districts in West Nile resulted into the arrest of five people. Four of the suspects were arrested in Arua in Kampala market in Logiri sub-county and detained in Arua central Police station, while one person was picked in Nebbi and detained at Nebbi Central Police station.
The operation was in the districts of Packwach where 35 drug shops were raided; Nebbi 42; Zombo 8; Yumbe 24; Koboko 53; and Arua 9.
This led to closure of 57 drug shops that were operating below the required standards and lacked license for the business. Some of the drug shop operators lacked qualifications to operate drug shops.
Among the impounded drugs were government drugs labeled Government of Uganda not for sale. The operation discovered malaria rapid test kits for 375 patients.
Other drugs that were confiscated were of South Sudan government such as Amoxicillin; 1,000 doses, Co-Trimoxazole; 80 doses, Ferrous Sulfate tablets that were expired.
Unregistered medicines like Super Apeti and Artesunate and Amodiaquine tablets meant for Democratic Republic of Congo, were also found. Some of the drugs were found to be smuggled, especially drugs for donation by Non-Governmental organizations.
Fredrick Ssekyana, the Public Relations Officer NDAsaid medicines in the hands of unqualified persons expose the population in West Nile and the entire country to wrong prescription, drug resistance, income and other health related risks, including death.
This compromises quality of health services from public health facilities and denies patients who need medicine chance for cure as well as discrediting government programs.
Those arrested were identified as Janet Mindreru, Jordan Tio, Steven Atiku all from Kampala market in Logiri, Florence Deboru Ediofe Ewanya, all in Arua district while in Nebbi district Sunday Kertho of Good Samaritan drug shop in Agwok trading centre is being held at Nebbi Central Police station.
Ssekyana said the 5 suspects will be arraigned in court once their files are complete. He notes that the challenges faced by the officials of NDA include absenteeism of drug outlet supervisors. In some places, children were found operating drug shops according to Ssekyana.
Some drug shops conduct clinical services of admission, injection contrary to the license granted. All drug shops operate under class C and are not allowed to conduct injections, admission.
In total NDA impounded 121 boxes of drugs parked at the NDA offices in Arua.
Harold Obitre, who represented the District Health Officer, Arua, said when government drugs are got in private facilities, the batch numbers should be identified to make a follow up on which government facility was supplied with the drugs.
This he said will hold the officials of a particular health facility responsible over missing drugs from the facility based on the serial numbers.
In Arua district alone, over 70 government health facilities receive drugs from National Medical Stores.
"We are not happy to see government drugs disappear from public health facilities. As a district, we are going to collaborate with NDA and the media to conduct further crackdown on disappearance of government drugs," Obitre said.
Two years ago, a drug dealer was arrested in Ediofe after he was found relabeling drugs for sale. Obitre tasked the Medicine management supervisors in health units to ensure drug audits are done.
Emmanuel Omirambe, the NDA manager, Arua, appealed to the public to report people who deal in fake drugs, unregistered drug shops and those who are not qualified to operate.
The moment we fail to enforce standards, poor quality drugs and personnel operate in the market. Omirambe warned herbalists who operate without license and threatened to arrest and impound their drugs. He notes that, no herbalists is allowed to operate under tents, or open space but establish standard structures with good condition to handle Herbal business.
On the issue of counterfeit drugs, Omirambe explained that, most of such as drugs that come from China are bought cheaply, but sold expensively.
He advised the public to report any case of counterfeit to NDA through a toll free contact 0800101999 and 0800100066.