By Ritah Mukisa
Forty years down the road, the Joint Medical Store (JMS) is still the leading private pharmaceutical firm in Uganda, offering quality products and services.
Dr Emmanuel Higenyi, the director technical services, says they have maintained this position because they are guided by their vision of being the leading supplier of quality health solutions for the Glory of God. “Quality defi nes JMS.
We practice stringent quality assurance mechanisms to protect our clients from substandard commodities,” Higenyi says.
He adds that they have put in place key quality interventions at different levels. For example, JMS emphasises legitimacy of the products before they are accepted and distributed to different health facilities.
Higenyi adds that medicines are produced bearing in mind the countries where they are used because what is produced for a country in Europe may not work for Uganda.
The quality assurance department also scrutinises the movement of products and their handling. Kevin Juma Otieno, the quality assurance offi cer and company pharmacist, adds that medicines deteriorate if they are not handled well.
So, the clinicians may not get the therapeutic benefi ts they expect, and in the end, they put the blame on JMS. “When we receive the commodities, we check all those factors,” he notes. CLICK HERE FOR MORE ON THIS STORY
JMS thrives on innovation — Baguma
The Catholic and Anglican churches in Uganda formed the Joint Medical Store (JMS) in 1979. From humble beginnings JMS has grown to become the leading private provider of pharmaceutical products in Uganda. The executive director, Dr Bildard Baguma, in an interview with New Vision’s Umar Nsubuga, takes us through their 40-year journey
What has helped JMS to grow over the last 40 years?
We highly cherish professionalism. We believe that there are no shortcuts to success, but rather hard work and professionalism day in, day out. We also put rigorous attention to quality and detail, as well as collaborations with our colleagues, both locally and internationally. Manufacturing processes and know-how for all the products we deal in. Another factor is the continuous training and mentoring of our staff. These have been pivotal in the JMS growth.
How would you describe the contribution of JMS to the health sector?
JMS is playing a big role in the health sector, in our fi rst decade, the focus was on getting medicines and sending them all over the country. However, it was soon realised that health facilities also lacked functional equipment. To address the need, a medical equipment department was established in 1981. Ten years later, the pharmaceutical market was facing another hurdle; this time, the cost of importing supplies was very high, we set up a production unit and we have started manufacturing. Our standard, leadership and governance contribute a lot to the health sector. CLICK HERE FOR MORE ON THIS INTERVIEW
How Anglican, Catholic co-operation birthed JMS
By Umar Nsubuga and Mathias Mazinga
The Joint Medical Store (JMS) was established in 1979 as a joint venture between the Uganda Catholic Medical Bureau and the Uganda Protestant Medical Bureau.
By establishing this ecumenical co-operation, the Catholic bishops, who own the Catholic Medical Bureau, and the Church of Uganda Prelates, who own the Protestant Medical Bureau, wanted to combine efforts to boost the medical services of the two mainstream churches.
The solidarity of the Catholic Church and the Church of Uganda in the medical/healing ministry was highlighted in clear terms during the extraordinary symposium that was organised at the headquarters of Uganda Joint Medical Store at Nsambya, Kampala on June 4.
The symposium was another activity to celebrate 40 years of the inception of JMS. Catholic and Anglican bishops sat together as they discussed strategic issues pertaining to the organisation’s efficiency, development and plans.
The chairperson of the Uganda Episcopal Conference, the Rt Rev Prof. Joseph Anthony Zziwa, justified the necessity for the two Churches to work even more harmoniously during the next decade.
“If we work together, we can serve humanity better. The achievements of Joint Medical Store in the last 40 years stand as a testimony to this. But we also need to work together in the area of education. Just like medical work, education in Uganda was pioneered by the Christian missionaries,” he said.
“The education that the missionaries introduced was holistic. It involved the academic, moral and religious formation of the students. Today, Christian morals and values are eroding away, in many of our schools. We need to work together to defend and develop the rich education legacy that the missionaries entrusted to us,” Zziwa said. CLICK HERE FOR MORE ON THIS STORY
How Joint Medical Store evolved to serve over 3,500 health facilities
By Ritah Mukasa
From a small joint venture between the Uganda Catholic Medical Bureau (UCMB) and the Uganda Protestant Medical Bureau (UPMB), Joint Medical Store (JMS) has come a long way.
Established in 1979, the fully-fledged private not-for-profit body is worth over sh8b. JMS was formed as an entity in charge of logistics to ensure that UCMB and UPMB facilities get essential medicines and medical supplies.
It currently manages the pharmaceutical supply chain of over 3,500 health facilities countrywide.
The body supplies medicines and medical supplies, in addition to selling, repairing and maintaining medical equipment. The organisation employs more than 100 staff directly, including pharmacists, biomedical engineers, warehouse experts, administrators, among others.
How deliveries are made
Joanita Namutebi Lwanyaga, the JMS director of customer services, says they serve facilities that are in need of medicines for as long as they meet the basic requirements of National Drug Authority (NDA) and the health ministry.
“We receive orders, process them and deliver to the clients. We are also in charge of warehousing and distribution. This means that all our branches fall under customer services,” she explains. CLICK HERE FOR MORE ON THIS STORY
Service delivery drives JMS
By Ritah Mukasa
With timely provision of medcine and vaccines, the quality of peoples life has improved accross the country, thanks to the Joint Medical Store (JMS).
This was revealed by Dr Emmanuel Higenyi, the JMS director technical services. “Provision of life-saving commodities required for maternal health and mothers has saved lives. This has, in the long run, increased the lifespan of Ugandans.
“The quality of children’s life has also improved, thanks to JMS provision of important products that treat conditions such diahorrea and pneumonia, among others,” he says. This has been possible due to the innovation and technology advancements at the stores.
JMS also partners with development partners to manage and distribute inventory comprising donor items like ARVs, ACTs and laboratory reagents. These are distributed to various facilities, including Private Not-for-Profit (PNFP) facilities, private and nongovernmental organisations ,among others.
Higenyi says his department is responsible for quality assurance, health system strengthening, Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and business analytic, as well as regulatory affairs. CLICK HERE FOR MORE ON THIS STORY