At least three nurses at Mulago Hospital are being held by police after being found in possession of government-labeled drugs.
This was revealed by the State House Anti-corruption Unit in a statement issued on July 7 following an intense investigation along with the police.
“Working with police, three nurses have been arrested with assorted drugs which they had allegedly stolen from Mulago Hospital, Kawempe,” said State House Anti-corruption Unit in a statement.
“Investigations have commenced and the unprofessional medical personnel with their accomplices will be arraigned before court.”
According to intimate sources at Mulago hospital, while the National Medical Stores (NMS) delivers essential medicines to public health facilities on time, nurses, doctors, and storekeepers steal them from stores before selling them to private medical facilities.
“As soon as NMS delivers drugs at Mulago, doctors, nurses and storekeepers start calling private pharmacy with offers of cheap government drugs.” a source revealed.
“We have been alerting Dr Baterana to crack the whip against drug theft but he is sleeping,” said a source at Mulago.
“This practice of stealing drugs from Mulago has turned into a culture. The same health officials who steal these essential medicines and health supplies will later complain that they didn’t get enough. Baterana has not taken radical steps to address the tragic situation,” the source added.
This is one of the many cases of drug theft in Uganda and seems to have been on the rise in recent months. In April, 2021, ten suspects were remand in Kinene Prison in Ogom sub-county in Pader for alleged theft of drugs from three health centers in the district.
They were part of 12 suspects arrested by police following the mysterious disappearance of essential drugs from Alima health center II, Lapul health center III and Aguta health center II.
In June 2021, Police recovered government drugs estimated to be worth Shs1billion at a private clinic at Gganda in Nansana Municipality, Wakiso District.
The police raided the clinic after residents informed authorities of a truck that offloaded boxes of drugs onto other cars hence the arrest of the nurse who was found in the clinic.
Kampala Metropolitan Police deputy spokesman, Luke Owoyesigire, said officers from Nansana visited the area and found a Tipper truck with some of the boxes of drugs marked National Medical Stores, USAID and Government of Uganda.
In order to minimize theft and other loss of essential medicines and health supplies along the supply chain, National Medical Stores (NMS) on July 1 started implementing the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, also known as NMS Plus, to digitize the entire supply chain process – end to end – in order to ensure effective tracking of drugs to the final users.
Upon full operationalization of ERP, NMS will have the capacity to trace the medical supplies to the final user (patients and other healthcare clients) through individual identification using the national identification number (NIN) that will be captured into the ERP system.
This will provide end-user data that will then be reconciled with procurement and distribution data to ensure that there is no leakage in the supply chain