National Medical Stores (NMS) has commenced construction of a new $7.6m (about Shs 27bn) warehouse to cope with the increase in drug stocks and requisitions.
Expected to be completed in June 2019, the new warehouse located in Kajjansi, Wakiso, will complement NMS’ main Entebbe warehouse. Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda hailed support from Global Fund and Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) for providing funds for the construction of the facility.
“The construction of this warehouse has been long overdue and we commend our development partners in strengthening and supporting Uganda’s health programmes”, he said.
Rugunda also pledged government support to ensure the completion of the construction project. The warehouse will contain cold rooms that will cater for the storage of medicines and vaccines that are sensitive to both hot and cold conditions.
GAVI donates HIV, malaria and tuberculosis drugs to NMS which enables the country to have a buffer drug stock to cater for shortages. The facility will also ensure drug availability when requested for by health facilities and provide an emergency stockpile in case of a drug shortage.
At the same event, Moses Kamabare, the NMS general manager, revealed that distribution of medicine is done according to delivery schedules.
“Look through the delivery schedule and you will know when any district in Uganda is expected to receive their supply,” he said.
He revealed that they work according to the delivery schedules with copies given to the offices of the RDCs, CAOs and district health offices and others pinned on the notice boards of health centers for monitoring delivery.
According to Kamabare, the biggest challenge for NMS is delivery of medicines to remote areas.
“To get to Kapchorwa and Kween, you first go to Kenya and then come to Uganda; otherwise, you have to pass through a steep road,” he added.
Abubakar Ibrahim, the Global Fund finance specialist, praised NMS for being a critical enabler in ensuring medicines reach destinations in time. “I hope the completion of this [warehouse] will help enhance the overall efforts in the supply-chain sector,” he said.