Parliament Roasts Mubende Hospital’s Management Over Expired Drugs Worth Millions

Parliament Roasts Mubende Hospital’s Management Over Expired Drugs Worth Millions

By Spy Uganda

Kampala: The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has announced an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the expiration of 2,322 kilograms of drugs valued at Shs121.2 million in the stores of Mubende Regional Referral Hospital during the 2022/23 period. During this time, some patients were sent away without medication and were instructed to buy drugs from private clinics.

According t0 the Committee’s Vice Chairperson Gorreth Namugga, the lawmakers want to ascertain where the problem was. “If these medicines were delivered to you and it was due to your negligence or failure to supervise your staff, you will make good of the loss. This money will be paid by you.” She emphasized that the PAC will work with the National Medical Stores (NMS) to determine where the fault lies. “If it was with Mubende Hospital, you are going to pay for these drugs,” she added.

This pronouncement was made during a recent meeting with Mubende Hospital officials following the December 2023 Auditor General’s report. The report highlighted challenges of drug stockouts due to late deliveries from NMS, leading to the expiration of drugs that were delivered late.

Namugga further commented, “We pay taxes for the purchase of drugs, and they come to Mubende only to be locked in stores until they expire. This not only wastes money but also resources spent on disposing of the expired drugs.”

Emmanuel Batibwe, Director of Mubende Hospital, explained that the facility has struggled to maintain adequate stocks of medicines due to shortfalls in quantities ordered and delayed deliveries by NMS. He also attributed the high volume of expired drugs to changes in the treatment protocols for HIV and Tuberculosis, which led to the abandonment of older medications.

“Overall, we experience frequent stockouts, and when deliveries do arrive, they run out quickly, forcing patients to buy drugs outside the hospital,” Batibwe said. He added that the hospital also faces challenges with laboratory reagents, where incomplete supplies lead to expiration of the components with shorter shelf lives.

Grania Nakazibwe, the Mubende District Woman Representative, urged the Committee to address the issue of drug deliveries in her district noting that constant stockouts have affected access to health services. “The delays by NMS create a gap that private facilities exploit,” she said.

Namugga raised concerns about the impact of drug stockouts on the public, suggesting that it may lead to self-medication as people become frustrated with frequent trips to health facilities that lack necessary medications.

Sarah Opendi, Tororo District Woman Representative, asked Batibwe if Mubende Hospital collaborates with lower health facilities to share excess drugs nearing expiration. Batibwe confirmed that the hospital’s pharmacists coordinate with other facilities in the region to redistribute excess drugs.

Mubende Hospital serves over 2 million people from several districts and was elevated to referral status in 2016. Despite this, the hospital faces a shortage of beds, operating with 240 beds against the desirable 500-bed capacity. The government is currently constructing a new 200-bed complex, but the project is stalled due to a funding shortfall of Shs137 million.

Mubende Regional Referral Hospital is a health facility located in the Central Region of Uganda. It is the referral hospital for the neighbouring districts of Mubende, Mityana, Kiboga, and Kyankwanzi among others. an accessible web community

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