KAMPALA – National Medical Stores (NMS) is seeking for Shs50b to put an end to the perennial drug stock-outs in the country.
NMS’s request is detailed in the report by the Committee of Health on the 2019/2020 ministerial policy statement by the Ministry of Health in which Parliament recommended having Government allocate additional Shs50Bn to NMS to improve on the availability of drugs and other medical supplies in the health facilities across the country;
The recommendations followed a widespread public outcry over perennial stock-outs of medicine in the public health facilities despite the increment in the National Medical Stores budgetary allocation for medicines.
Parliament observed that although an additional allocation of Shs41b was effected in FY2018/2019 this did not significantly improve medical supplies whose stock-outs are still high with NMS arguing that the entity was constrained due to budgetary shortfalls.
The development comes at a time when Government is planning to upgrade HCIIs, construction of more HCIIIs and the upgrading of some facilities to both Regional Referral Hospitals and national Referral Hospitals which will resultantly increase the need for medicines and supplies expected.
The Committee argued that the upward projection, the upgraded facilities and the new facilities means a significant budget increase for medicines and supplies which means that the institution will require funds an oxygen supplementary plant and the laboratory in order to maintain supplies to General Hospitals and other lower health facilities.
The committee however acknowledged the current funding gap of Shs5b for medicines for emergencies and epidemics, Shs5b to ensure availability of enough vaccines for routine immunization, Shs22b for Mama Kits for safe delivery to mother, Shs15b for Essential Medical and Health Supplies to public health facilities and Shs2bn for TB vaccines to accredited facilities and Government was also urged to provide Shs39b for procuring Laboratory commodities.
In the 2018/2019 budget, NMS was allocated Shs300.09b and in the coming financial year, the institution is set to receive Shs396.17b which represents Shs96.08b increment.