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Luwero hospital runs out of essential drugs for Covid-19

Luwero general hospital. File Photo

Luwero, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Luwero hospital has run out of drugs used in the treatment of COVID-19 and other general illnesses.

Last month, Luwero hospital opened up a treatment unit to treat COVID-19 patients with moderate signs after a surge in cases. The district has so far registered over 350 COVID-19 cases and 23 deaths.

Since the establishment of the treatment centre, Luwero hospital has admitted 35 COVID-19 patients and four have died. Currently, seven COVID-19 patients are at the centre and others have been discharged after recovery.

However, the hospital is struggling to manage the patients at the treatment centre over shortage of drugs. The common drugs for treating COVID-19 patients are azithromycin, zinc, vitamin C and vitamin D.

The Ministry of Health also approved the use of dexamethasone, baricitimib, and inhalable steroids in the management of the resurging cases of COVID-19.

Dr Innocent Nkonwa, the medical superintendent of Luwero hospital says that they have run out of stock for both drugs for treating COVID-19 patients and other general illnesses. He attributes the shortage to the delays by National Medical Stores-NMS.

Nkonwa says that the NMS was supposed to deliver drugs by June 21 but to date, they are yet to get supplies. He however noted that they have reminded NMS to deliver the drugs.

Health workers say that patients have been advised to buy the drugs from private pharmacies.

James Musisi, a resident says that apart from the patients at the isolation unit, those under the home-based treatment are also struggling to get drugs over high costs in private pharmacies.

A dose for azithromycin now costs between 7,000-10,000 Shillings whereas each tablet for either zinc and vitamin C is sold 1,000 Shillings within drug shops in Luwero town.

Brenda Nabukenya, the Luwero district Woman Member of Parliament has criticized NMS for poor response and letting down the health workers in the fight against COVID-19.

Sheila Nduhukire, the spokesperson for National Medical Stores admitted the delay but said the supply of both essential and COVID-19 drugs will be done before the end of this week.

Nduhukire attributed the delay to high demand over surge in COVID-19 cases.

Luwero hospital has been receiving drugs worth 33 million shillings every two months but due to the surge of patients, the government intends to increase the budget to 71 million shillings in the financial year 2021/22.

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