To enhance availability of drugs all over the country, government health facilities must lodge their medicine requests within set deadlines, National Medical Stores (NMS) has said.
“Currently, we serve over 3,000 health facilities across the country and while a great number of them submit their requests on time, we still face challenges in some places where requests are submitted outside the set submission deadline and this therefore affects availability of medicines in these particular places,” NMS public relations officer, James Odong said in a recent interview.
“We therefore call upon all health facilities to help us help them by adhering to the delivery schedule guidelines available in health facilities and on the NMS website to enhance transparency and medicine availability,” he added.
Odong urged all managers of government health facilities to submit requests on time to avoid inconveniences.
“The government has been very supportive in ensuring we have a conducive environment for logistics and supply which enables us operate efficiently,” he said.
Odong said deliveries are made bi-monthly but considerations are made for emergency requests.
“NMS delivers drugs to various government health facilities across the country based on a pre-determined schedule every two months, which translates into six times every year. Of course there are emergency deliveries but that does not happen regularly,” he said.
“The purpose of these scheduled deliveries is to enable us manage the available resources efficiently and for accountability purposes especially now considering the Covid-19 pandemic and related effects on transport restrictions and availability of medicines globally,” Odong said.
NMS is mandated to procure, warehouse and distribute essential medicines and medical supplies, primarily to government health facilities. Medicine availability across the country currently stands at 85 per cent with a target of reaching 90 per cent within the next 1-2 years.
NMS recently hired clerks to follow up on drugs from the districts up to the rural health facilities under what is known as the last mile delivery model. The institution is set to open a state-of-the art pharmaceutical warehouse in Kajjansi off Entebbe road to increase bulk store capacity area from the current 8,000 pallet locations in the existing premises to 30,000 pallet locations.
The facility will also increase cold chain capacity to a maximum net storage volume of 2,500m3 purpose built as a drive-in cold room (DICR).
“One of our main objectives is to consolidate, centralize and operate NMS services and infrastructure in one modern, purpose built and efficient building, with a minimum sixty-year lifespan, on the specified site,” said NMS general manager Moses Kamabare.
In the year 2017/2018, NMS achieved higher than the target score of 90 per cent stock availability for Essential Medicines and 86 per cent for Tracer items against a target of 75 per cent set by ministry of Health.