African Union launches s 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013 

20 year milestone for NMS in Uganda

celebration: Health minister Dr. Rugunda (R) signs the NMS magazine as NMS chief Kamabare looks on.

KAMPALA, Uganda - National Medical Stores (NMS), a Government body entrusted with distributing government medical supplies to health centers within the country, has been told to improve on their service delivery despite remarkable success in the last two decades.

The advice was made by Health Minister Ruhakana Rugunda during an event to celebrate twenty years of NMS in Kampala. 

The minister also urged NMS to buy from local drugs manufacturers.

The organization last week celebrated 20years of incredible success in which they have recorded a number of achievements most notable being increased supply of drugs in upcountry health centers.

National Medical Stores was established in 1993 as an act of Parliament to procure, store and distribute essential medicines and health supplies, primarily to government health facilities in Uganda.  It is based at Entebbe , 40 kilometres from Kampala.

Moses Kamabare, the General Manager of NMS speaking during a dinner to mark 20 years said the body has undertaken fundamental reforms. These reforms include publishing a national medicines and medical supplies delivery schedule to ensure proper planning.

This, according to Kamabare has promoted accountability and helps to ensure government hospitals and health facilities never run out of drugs and other medical supplies throughout the year.

Kamabare said they stopped dealing with the private sector and concentrated on government health facilities to ensure steady and predictable supplies.

Government through NMS also started labeling the drugs and other medical supplies to stop theft of the supplies.

“There was a huge problem of stealing government drugs by health officials who used to sell the stolen medicines on the local market. This left government hospitals without drugs,” Kamabare revealed.

“We have now dealt with that problem. With embossment of drugs and medicines the health workers and the public are put on notice that such medicines and medical supplies are not for sale,” Kamabare added.

The other major reform has been the creation of a new innovative last line delivery system taking the medicines beyond the district health offices up to the individual health facilities.

In this period, MNS has had challenges which included lack of health workers, bad roads especially upcountry, delayed placing of delivery orders and cumbersome procurement process. These have been a hindrance to NMS execution of their mandate.

Kamabare told a congregation at the celebration that NMS is looking at embracing ICT measure to boost their operations.

“For example we want someone to be able to make an order online without necessary leaving their office,” he said.

The Organisation has set targets of having a bigger storage space with modern equipment to serve the country better. They are also expanding with a new office soon opening in Arua. Another will be opened in Karamoja region next financial year to increase their regional office from current seven.

The board chairman Dr. Philip Bazaale Byruhanga reiterated that NMS will consolidate the current achievements in terms of health supplies to all public health facilities in the country.

By Baz Waiswa, Tuesday, December 10th, 2013