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Medicines and Health Service Delivery Monitoring Unit

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Following general public outcry over the deteriorating health sector, His excellency, the President of the Republic of Uganda set up the Medicines and Health Services Delivery monitoring unit. This was meant to be a partial solution to the numerous problems identified within the sector. Already existing measures to revamp the health sector are as follows: Funding to the health sector has been significantly increased; and more than one thousand health centres have been constructed. The government on its part has decentralized health care; and most of these health units are under the direct supervision of the district local governments. It is mainly the failure of this supervisory role that led to the deterioration of these services and facilities. Other parallel solutions to augment these  efforts are underway; for example, increase of health workers’ salaries in the next financial year and attracting and retaining more technical man-power within the sector.

This unit was set up in September 2009. In the last five months of operation, we have noticed a recurrence of the following problems that continue to plague our country’s health sector: corruption and embezzlement of funds channeled to the sector; absentee medical personnel; ghost health personnel and ghost health centers; theft of government drugs, health supplies and installations; understaffing that has led to unbearable work-loads for health workers. The following can further shed some light on the magnitude of the problem:

·         In Sironko district, 252 dedicated health workers had never appeared on the pay-roll even after being confirmed as health workers of the district.

·         In Mubende, a big number of children lost and are still losing lives  to treatable illnesses especially Malaria. Notwithstanding the fact that malaria drugs are availed to all districts by National Medical Stores and are misappropriated by some individuals.

·         In Manafwa, an in-charge of one of the government health centres is under investigation for making off with X-ray machines, an ambulance, gas canisters and drugs.

·         We have found that the greater number of private clinics are not registered, and worse still have unqualified staff running these clinics.

·         Concerning understaffing, Isingiro district has only one doctor employed by the government yet it has close to 60 health facilities. He is the DHO and has to coordinate  all  administrative work as well.

The above malpractices continue unabated all over the country with impunity,  mostly because health workers are perceived as a special group, mainly due to their scarcity in the country. It, however, should be noted that the era of taking Ugandans’ lives for granted is over. The long arm of the law shall reach any one, health worker or not, within the borders of this country that is involved in any form of unethical behavior. This action shall not exclude individuals or groups of individuals that infringe on health workers’ rights; like the right to be appropriately compensated for their work and the right to work in a safe environment. It is no longer acceptable. Ugandans have said no and justice shall be seen to be done.

We are not working alone in this enormous fight. Thus far, we have had tremendous support from civil society and health professionals within the sector. We are also working in close proximity with the police, the office of the Directorate of Public Prosecutions, IGG’s office, District Local Governments, health professional bodies and other security organs. It should hence be understood clearly that we are not here to antagonize or duplicate already existing efforts, but are here to fill an obvious gap; so that together with the existing institutions, we can achieve the desired goal; an efficient and graft free health care system with an equally well remunerated health work force.

We still call upon the public to work hand-in-hand with us, and also encourage all health professionals to join in this effort to clean the health sector. Furthermore, the ministry of health needs to increase on its already existing monitoring efforts. The health professional bodies like the medical council, pharmaceutical society of Uganda and the Allied health professionals’ body need to increase on their vigilance.

Lastly, yesterday Tuesday, the 9th of March 2010; Dr. Richard Ndyomugyenyi- project manager, National Malaria Control Programme, Dr. Myers Lugemwa – focal person monitoring and evaluation, NMCP and Mr. Martin Shibeki were arrested by the police and charged under reference E/075/2010 of CID Headquaters Kibuli. Dr. Ndyomugyenyi- is charged with corruption contrary to section 2(i) of the Anti-corruption Act 6 of 2009 for neglecting to ensure the proper management of the Chinese donated drugs, duo-cotecxin and arco. Whilst Dr. Myers and Shibeke are jointly charged with corruption contrary to section 2 (h) of the Anti-corruption Act 6 of 2009 who by their acts or omissions caused the requisition and distribution of antimalarial drugs for the purpose of illicitly obtaining benefits for themselves or for third parties. We cannot further comment on a case that is due to be heard before a court of law.

 

We call upon the media to be accurate in its reporting and to further our cause for better health service within our country.

Thank you.

FOR GOD AND MY COUNTRY.

 


Comments (9)Add Comment
Another Joke for Ugandans
written by Jude, March 12, 2010
It isn't surprising that something like this pops up from state house to "fix" something.Having worked in Uganda's health care system and for some of the most advanced healthcare systems in the world, this joke is depressing.The problem in Uganda's health care system, just like the problems of unemployment,in the education, the road and railway network, the tribalism etc has nothing to do with Ugandans but a gov't that has failed.How can you steal what doesnt exist! I remember having to pull out money from my pocket buy pain killers for dying patients and then hours later hear the local LC chairman on radio say the health workers are stealing.Then you meet same guy in a clinic you work in coming for treatment instead of the "stocked' hospital.Ugandans should just vote these idiots out.
Its an irony
written by Jude, March 12, 2010
Interestingly, when you move to another country to work as a health care worker, they say you are one of the best that has ever worked for them and then ask where you trained.Now the catch is you tell them Uganda, they get interested in visiting a place with such "an excellent medical system".That is when you have to start explaining that actually the healthcare workers are very good and well trained but maybe it is not a good idea to check out he actual healthcare system because it is a little different.That is the true irony of working in healthcare in Uganda.You waste alot of talent dealing with useless politics.
foolerly
written by Edward Jjemba, March 12, 2010
This is another fix by state house officials to justify the operation of the Monitoring unit soon or later the government will pay legal damages
We are Jokers, but we can improve
written by Manyilirah, March 12, 2010
I am a health-worker, but frankly speaking the state of health service delivery, just as for other social services in our country, is very depressing. The above report, by the Medicines and Health Service Delivery Monitoring Unit (MHMU), does not at all help matters. It only goes a long way to show how wretched and unserious we've become in this country! The report has not unearthed anything new; mismanagement (and its magnitude) of medical supplies, absenteeism of public officers, payroll mismanagement, ghost this and that....etc are very well known vices in Uganda.
We are Jokers, but we can improve (cont'd)
written by Manyilirah, March 12, 2010
In my opinion the focus should be on finding out how, in a "stable country" like Uganda with supposedly visionary (or illusionists?) leaders, could these vices go unabated for this long? I believe the MHMU is just a “knee-jerk reaction”, not appropriate at all if systems are to function efficiently, considering that there is a plethora of established organs empowered to oversee the delivery of health services in this country. The MHMU provides no permanent solution to the poor health services in Uganda. Period! It (finding solutions) goes beyond just arresting a few health-workers and way beyond the lamentations by our president currently obsessed with attacks on the poor medical doctors.
We are jockers, but we can do better (cont'd)
written by Manyilirah, March 12, 2010
The ministry of health officials, district leaders (political and otherwise) need to do some serious soul searching. We are rotten! I do suggest the following as possible partial solutions: (1). the implicated officers and especially their supervisors (such as District Health Officers and district Personnel Officers and members of the central and regional supervision teams) should be severely punished without fear or favour. How on earth, for example, could 252 or even two health workers not access the payroll? We are just jokers! This is sickening! The responsible officers ought to resign, or be sacked.
We are jockers, but we can do better (cont'd)
written by Manyilirah, March 12, 2010
(2). Secondly, all civil servants should be employed on contract. This will ensure that one is compensated for what is worth their contribution. The era of “being permanent and pensionable” should end. THERE ARE NO COMPLEX SOLUTIONS TO THE PROBLEMS FACING UGANDA’S SOCIAL SERVICES SECTOR. WE JUST NEED TO GET SERIOUS, THINK BIG, BE SELFLESS, AND MORE SO WE NEED GOOD ROLE MODELS IN POSITIONS OF LEADERSHIP OF THE VARIOUS SERVICE PROJECTS.
We are just jokers, but we can do better (cont'd)
written by Manyilirah, March 12, 2010
Lastly, the funds provided for the procurement and management of medical supplies in district hospitals are JUST ENOUGH to ensure that the “minimum health care package” is effectively delivered. If utilised well, this fund could cover all the essential medicines, laboratory supplies, maternal supplies…etc without stock-outs throughout a given fiscal year. I say this with authority. Quote me on this.
HIA
written by Masika Rogers, October 08, 2013
what is happening over their ? we no longer here you in the media ! or is it because every thing is ok in the health sector ? please somebody should reach me by email for some information.

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