National Drug Authority conducted an operation in West Nile Region to clear the region of unlicensed drug shops supervised by unqualified personnel. The operation held from 13th – 17th May 2019, covered six Districts namely; Pakwach, Nebbi, Yumbe, Koboko Zombo, and Arua.
The operation lead to inspection of 210 drug outlets, accounting for Pakwach (35), Nebbi (42), Zombo (8), Yumbe (24), Koboko (53), Maracha (8) and Arua (40). During the operation 57 drug shops were issued with closure notices and closed. Impounded boxes of assorted medicine were 127 estimated at Ushs. 44,450,000.
However, special attention is given to the following categories of impounded medicines.
- Quantities of medicines labeled “Government of Uganda ” discovered such as malaria rapid test kits worthy for use on 425 patients.
- “Government of Southern Sudan” Amoxicillin worthy doses for 1,000 patients. Co-Trimoxazole worthy doses for 80 patients. Ferrous Sulfate tablets that was expired worthy doses for 30 patients.
- Unregistered medicine like Super Apeti. Artesunate & Amodiaquine tablets meant for Democratic Republic of Congo public health facilities.
- Smuggled/donation medicine like Praziquantel.
The pilferage of medicines from public health facilities compromises the quality of health service delivery, and denies patients in need of medicines hence discrediting government programmes.
Medicines in the hands of unqualified persons expose the population in West Nile and entire country to wrong prescription, drug resistance, income, and other health related risks or complications including death.
There were 5 arrests made during the ongoing operation. These include 3 persons hawking medicines, and another operating a business of a pharmacist without a license in Kampala shift market Arua district. Namely;
- Mindreru Janet (SD Ref 61/16/05/2019) of Kampala market operating a business of a pharmacist without a license.
- Deboru Florence of Ediofe Wanyapa Vill, Tio Jordan (Congolese) and Atiku Stephen SD Ref 62/16/03/2019
All are in custody at Arua Central Police Station pending prosecution.
In Agwok Trading Centre, Nebbi district, one Kertho Sunday of Good Samaritan drug shop is being held at Nebbi Central Police station under SD Ref 53/13/05/2019 for dealing in class B drugs.
All the apprehended culprits must face the law under the provisions of the NDP/A Act as investigations regarding the source of medicines intended for public health facilities are still ongoing.
The following were the challenges experienced during the operation
- Absenteeism of drug outlet supervisors and leaving the businesses to be operated by unqualified personnel. For example we discovered incidents of children manning drug shops.
- Drug shops conducting clinical work such as admitting and injecting patients.
- Operating in unsuitable premises which compromises the quality of medicine.
- Have no sign posts.
- Dealing Government of Uganda labeled, unregistered, smuggled/donated medicines.
- Some communities were in cahoots with unqualified personnel operating unlicensed drug shops.
We call upon the public to join efforts with the Ministry of Health and NDA to eliminate this vice, because complying with drug outlets licensing requirements improves the quality health service delivery of the population.
Safe drugs, save lives