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Health Centre boss arrested over alleged drug theft

Satellite photo showing the location of Namayingo district.

NAMAYINGO– Police in Namayingo district are holding the in-charge Buyombo Health Centre II, Banda Sub-county in Namayingo district for allegedly stealing drugs meant for the facility.

The suspect, George Bernard Omodo, is said to have been found with 660 doses of Coartem, a drug used to treat malaria.

The suspect was reportedly arrested on the directive of the Namayingo deputy Resident District Commissioner (RDC), Majid Dhikusooka.

Mr Dhikusooka said he acted on the complaints raised by the LC3 Sub-county Chairperson, adding that the suspect was found with the items during an impromptu operation before his arrest.

In 2009, President Museveni established the Health Monitoring Unit (HMU), a department within State House that was supposed to cure challenges within the health sector but particularly deal with the crisis of drug thefts.

In 2006, he directed ministry of Health officials to label government-owned drugs as “UG, NOT FOR SALE” but that strategy did not seem to work.

Mr Moses Mulumba, the Executive Director of the Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD), a health rights advocacy group, says the HMU should change its working style if drug thefts are to be foiled.

“I think that its approach is highly ad hoc and could be made better. The HMU could, for instance, focus on strengthening the already established structures like Health Unit Management Committees (HUMCs) and Hospital Boards (HBs) and spend less effort in enforcement which is the work of the police,” Mr Mulumba wrote in an interview via email.

The current approach of the HMU, Mr Mulumba wrote, has relegated it into an agency that is feared by the very people it would have collaborated with [to deal with] medicine thefts in facilities.

 

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