The Board of Directors, Management and Staff of National Medical Stores (NMS) supports the President of the Republic of Uganda. H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, Cabinet, Parliament and the people of Uganda in implementing the Manifesto Plan.
The National Medical Stores (NMS) has established itself as a center of excellence for procurement, warehousing and distribution of essential medicines and health supplies (EMHS). NMS leverages on ICT services in the execution of its mandate.
NMS currently serves 3,153 public health facilities comprising of National Referral Hospitals, Regional Referral Hospitals, General Hospitals, HCIVs, HCIIIs, HCIIs and specialized institutes (Uganda Heart Institute and Uganda Blood Transfusion Services (UBTS).
In November last year, National Medical Stores launched Phase 1 of the NMS Client Self Service Portal (CSSP) which involves National and Regional Referral, Hospitals and National Institutes ordering for their EMHS online in real time using the CSSP platform.
This has since replaced the old paper-based system where health facilities had to make orders for their EMHS on paper and then send them using either email or hand deliver. This was not only tedious, but also took a long time before the orders could be received and processed.
Phase 2 is ongoing and it involves onboarding of lower health facilities (HCIVs, HCIIIs and HCIIs) onto the platform while Phase 3 will be tracking the last mile to include patients. Once the tool is fully operational, NMS shall be able to receive and process customer orders much faster, while also providing end to end transparency and accountability for EMHS in the supply chain.
NMS designed the Last Mile Delivery of EMHS to the doorstep of every public health facility in Uganda in 2012. NMS employs Last Mile Delivery Clerks who have the personal responsibility of ensuring that the items are received by the health facility in-charges in the presence of a member of the community and/or security personnel. This has increased accountability and availability of medicines to Ugandans at all levels of health care from National Referral hospitals up to Health Center IIs.
NMS has also built capacity in the storage and handling of vaccines. We have been recognized and awarded for best practices in warehousing and management of vaccines by UNICEF and Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization.
Since 2012 when NMS took on the warehousing and delivery of vaccines, vaccination coverage has increased from 52% to 90% and, currently, NMS is considered a center of excellence for vaccines warehousing and management on the Continent.
Another digital innovation is the Delivery Monitoring Tool (DMT) that helps in tracking and informing health facility in-charges about the EMHS deliveries from NMS to the health facilities. The DMT also informs CAOs, DHOs, RDCs, and each Member of Parliament of that particular area, about the deliveries. The tool also gives the names and telephone numbers of the health workers who have received the EMHS.
To reduce on the high levels of drug theft/ pilferage, NMS introduced the embossment of all medicines to distinguish between the ones provided by Government from the private ones.
We call upon Ugandans to be more vigilant and report any cases of drug thefts from their respective health facilities to Police or the Health Monitoring Unit. Medicines embossed with the words,” Government of Uganda Not for Sale” on the label and “UG” on the tablet, vial or ampoule should be free of charge and not be paid for.
Ministry of Health data indicates that 75% of all diseases in Uganda are preventable. This means that 75 out of every 100 patients in hospitals in Uganda would not be there if they had prevented the disease they are suffering from. We implore all Ugandans to consider eating healthy foods, washing their hands with soap before eating and after using the toilet, sleeping under insecticide treated mosquito nets, exercising regularly and wearing safety belts and helmets when in cars or on motorbikes respectively, among the many other ways of avoiding preventable diseases.
NMS continues to work towards achieving a population with adequate and accessible quality medicines and medical supplies. Throughout the period of the COVI-19 pandemic, NMS has continued to distribute essential medicines, vaccines (including COVID-19 vaccines) and PPEs to all government health facilities and the assigned vaccination centers.
To date, Uganda has received 44,734,030 doses of COVID-19 vaccines. However, very many Ugandans remain unvaccinated. As National Medical Stores, we urge Ugandans who have not been vaccinated to reach out to the vaccination centers nearest to them and get fully vaccinated. This is the surest way to protect ourselves and our loved ones from the COVID-19 pandemic.