The Permanent Secretary for Ministry of Health Dr. Diana Atwine has asked members of the public to desist from consuming medicine that has not been prescribed by qualified physicians.
While officiating at the grand opening of the PNFP Supply Chain Partners Conference held at Hotel Africana in Kampala, Atwine noted that there are reports of antimicrobial resistance among the population mostly brought about by unsupervised or excessive use of medicine.
Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites change over time and no longer respond to medicines making infections harder to treat and increasing the risk of disease spread, severe illness and death.
“We need to use the medicine very well because it has been established that most of the people just buy medicine and take it without any prescription. As medical practitioners, we need to deploy science so as to identify influential medicine that should be added on our priority list as we remove those that are no longer effective,” Atwine said.
She also expressed the need to engage more in prevention of disease than treatment noting that the latter is expensive.
“We are spending billions of money in treating malaria yet malaria is one of the preventable diseases. We spend billions of money on HIV which can also be prevented, cancer can be screened at an early stage and be prevented but its treatment is so expensive,” she added.
On the implementation of the 10 year Health Supply Chain Road map, Atwine said Uganda needs to start manufacturing its own medicine other than relying on foreign countries; giving an example of the covid-19 Period where developed countries took care of their citizens first, leaving developing ones like Uganda o suffer the wrath of poor access to medicine and supplies.
Dr. Bildard Baguma, the Executive Director of Joint Medical Store (JMS) who hosted the meeting, revealed that this conference has attracted partners from several health facilities country wide, UN Agencies and others to discuss means through which they will join efforts to ensure timely and proper medical supply to the facilities.
Dr Diana Atwiine with some of the stakeholders who participated in the engagement.
Dr. Ronald Kasiraba, the Executive Secretary of Uganda Catholic Medical Bureau (UCMB), applauded government for its continued support through providing equipment and technical expertise.
“As one of the means of eliminating person to person contact which is the main source of corruption, we have already finalized a plan to have all procurement process in the Ministry of Health done online,” said Joshua Akandwanaho who represented the NIRA Executive Director.
Dr. Edison Muhwezi from UNFPA, one of the partners who attended the meeting, revealed that they not only provide support in procurement of essential medicines but take part in ensuring that it benefits the intended audience.