Article written by Fred Mugerwa Mugisha, Project Officer, Governance & Policy Advocacy, KRC
Continuous stock-outs of drugs in public health centres continues to bedevil Uganda’s healthcare system. The problem of drug stock out has been attributed to drug supply chain bottle necks in health sector, government’s push system in the delivery and distribution of medical supplies from National Medical Stores (NMS) as well as limited budget thresholds for priority drugs and treatment.
For many years, Kasenda Health Centre III in Kabarole District had not been spared from this problem. Patients has become used to being given partial or incomplete dispense of prescribed drugs and treatment.
Thanks to the change agents that picked up the concern and documented it in the issues paper that was addressed to the local leaders and area Members of Parliament during breakfast meetings facilitated by KRC. According to the in-charge at Kasenda Health III, Ivan Akugizibwe, the challenge of drug stock outs emanated from the delivery of drugs and for this particular case, the leaders found out that the transporter was inefficiently handling his delivery assignment. The leaders engaged National Medical Stores to reconsider the transporters contract and assigned the job to a new transport service provider.
Reportedly, the drug stock has improved at Kasenda Health Centre III. Timely delivery and distribution of drugs to the facility has improved. In effect, patients interviewed during the follow up revealed that they spend less time to access treatment and drugs at the facility. Patients further revealed that there is access to full package of drugs from the health facility. The patient case load has increased revealing that more trust in building once again in the health facility. Referrals of staff to other health facilities has significantly gone down as the health centre now has capacity to handle all manageable cases.
The case of Kasenda demonstrates that enhancing the capacity of lower level health facilities addresses the congestion challenge experienced at regional and the nation referral hospitals.