KAMPALA –The National Medical Stores – NMS is seeking Ugx298b to compensate the projected funding gaps arising from the decrease in donor funding.
NMS General Manager, Moses Kamabare said that since donor agencies such as PEPFAR that have for long provided essential medicines such as anti-retroviral drugs– ARVs; sexual reproductive products; and TB drugs have threatened to withdraw funding, government had to take full charge. “Donors have announced that they will soon scale down on funding; we therefore have a funding gap, for ARVs next year, which may reduce by Ugx31b,” said Kamabare.
Kamabare was appearing before the Health Committee on January 10 where he presented NMS’ Budget Framework Paper for the financial year 2022/2023 totalling to Shs513 billion.
He said that the anticipated reduction in external funding will affect the management of malaria.
He requested for Ugx35b to bridge the funding gaps for anti-malarial drugs.
Other NMS’s underfunded priorities where they seek Parliament intervention include immunization supplies, laboratory commodities and emergency supplies.
Legislators observed poor projections in the NMS budget – asking Kamabare to consider a revision.
Jinja South West division Member of Parliament, Timothy Batuwa said the Ugx40b total budget for malaria was too little compared to the population and the disease burden.
Bulambuli district Woman MP, Irene Muloni said the budget was blind about access of medicines and supplies in island communities, which she said often suffers stock outs.
“Some of the islands do not have some of the invasive drugs; I wonder how you structure distribution in such areas with transport challenges,” said Muloni.
She asked NMS to address the ‘puzzle’ of high quantities of expired drugs amidst scarcity which she said has prevailed.
“Is it a procurement problem? Do we buy medicines that are about to expire?” asked Muloni.
Samuel Opio – the MP Kole County North asked for the progress of Covid-19 vaccines and the plan to install an oxygen plant at NMS.
Kamabare said that poor mobilisation for Covid-19 vaccination had affected utilisation and that over 20 million doses were soon expiring.
He said works were under way to prepare for installation of the oxygen plant at NMS by end of 2023.