National Drug Authority (NDA) conducted an enforcement operation in the Western Region, covering Bunyoro, Tooro, and Singo, which has saved an estimated population of 53,938 from health related risks resulting from quacks or unqualified healthy personnel operating unlicensed drug shops.
This was through closure of 154 drug outlets during the ongoing enforcement operation that begun on Monday 17, June 2019 and ending today Friday 21, June 2019.
The operation held in 14 districts led to inspection of 503 drug outlets, and 204 boxes of assorted medicine estimated at Ushs. 68,600,000 impounded from the closed drug shops.
The risk averted by closing the drug outlets reduces the disease burden of unsuspecting population as a result of being conned by quacks or unqualified health personnel. This further promotes quality health service delivery resulting in better treatment of illnesses and prevention of diseases as the population access medicines from only licensed drug outlets manned by qualified health personnel.
The Districts covered in the operation included Kiryandongo, Bulisa, Masindi, Mubende, Mityana, Kyenjojo, Kabarole, Kibaale, Kibogo, Kagadi, Kasanda, Kyankwanzi, Kyegegwa and Hoima.
There were 10 arrests made during the operation and all are in custody at Lusozi Police Station and are pending prosecution.
Kanchiriho God and seven others under ref SD 10/18/6/2019
Kibirige Sulaiman and one other person under reference SD 11/18/06/2019
All were arrested together with the herbal concoctions and two vehicles used in the trade which were impounded.
Many unlicensed drug outlets at Butiaba landing sites that had evaded us for quite some time were successfully apprehended.
Other outlets visited included 58 veterinary drug shops, 41 pharmacies of which two were issued with closure notices, and 37 clinics for displaying medicines
The objectives of this operation are to save the public from unlicensed and unqualified personnel handling human and veterinary medicines, crack down on dealers in substandard, and counterfeit medicines, and hawkers of drugs.
Medicines in the hands of unqualified persons and stored in unsuitable conditions expose the population in the region and the entire country to wrong prescription, drug resistance, and other health related risks or complications including death.
This cumulatively brings it to a total of 1,684 drug outlets visited since the beginning of the NDA operations in March 2019, including other regions, leading to closure of 746, impounding 1,238 boxes of assorted medicines, estimated at Ush. 430,500,000 and effecting 48 arrests. The entire operation to date has protected an estimated 349,938 unsuspecting persons of unlicensed and unqualified drug outlet operators.
During the operations in all regions covered, veterinary outlets inspected were 126, and impounded 183 boxes of assorted medicines estimated at Ushs. 82,350,000.
Challenges experienced in the course of doing our work included;
- Absence of in-charges of drug shops leaving the businesses to be operated by unqualified personnel.
- Unsuitable premises which compromise the quality of medicines.
- Many Drug outlets close their premises upon sighting NDA vehicles.
- Drug shops conducting clinical work.
- Operators not adhering to the recommended storage conditions as specified by the manufacturer. For example, Pen & Strep an antibiotic for veterinary use to be stored between the temperature range of 2 to 8 degrees Celsius as per the manufacturer’s specifications was found stored on shelves at room temperature a thing that leads to degeneration of the drug.
- Possession drugs labeled government of Uganda (not for sale).
- Drug outlets selling expired drugs which possess a danger to the health of the community.
We appeal to the general public to be vigilant, appreciative, and by supportive of NDA in the course of doing our work, and urge you to report any anomalies on our toll free lines 0800 101 999. Safe drugs save lives