By Christopher Nyeko
GULU: The National Drug Authority (NDA) has closed 830 drug shops and arrested several attendants during a two weeks operation aimed at cracking down on illegal drug shops in Acholi and Lango sub regions.
The drug shops were closed in the seventeen disticts of Alebtong,Amolatar,Apac, Dokoo,Kole,Kwania,Lira,Otuke,Oyama all in Lango sub region.
Others were Agago,Amuru, Gulu, Lamwo,Kitgum, Nwoya, Omoro and Pader in Acholi sub region.
Samuel Kyomukama, the head of enforcement at NDA told journalists and leaders at hotel Kakanyero in Gulu city on Friday that the operation was in line with NDA’s routine spot market servilliance activities aimed at protecting the human and animal populations from drugs and substandard, couterfeit and unuthorized healthcare products as well as eliminating unlicensed outlets and unqualified people from the drug bussiness.
Kyomukama explained that during the enforcement, a number of attendants were arrested for various reasons.
They included Dr. Alobo Gasthony, a gynecologist and lecturer at Lira university. The suspect was found running an illegal pharmacy in Lira and was in possession of government drugs.
According to Kyomukama, Alobo was later taken to Lira Central Police station where he is being detained under case file number SD/20/21/2022.
He added that they also impounded 819 boxes of assorted medecines in Lango sub region worth over 200 million shillings.
Kyomukama further revealed that James Rubangakene and christopher Odong Langoya, both attendants of Akfrank Medicines drugs shop owned by Robert Akena, a pharmacy technician at Kitgum General Hospital were also arrested from kitgum Municipality where they also recovered govenment drugs and medical equipments worth over 1.5 billion shillings.
Also arrested is Kenneth Watmon, a laboratory technician at Kitgum General Hospital who was found with boxes of medeines including that for the government of Uganda at his home.
He is currently detained at Kitgum Central Police Station on a csae file No SD/34/26/10/2022 and has been charged with unlawful possession of classified drugs, unlawful possession of government stores, running a pharmacy bussiness without a license, abuse of office and causing financial loss to government under the anti -corruption Act.
Kyomukama added that two cases have been opened at both Gulu and Kitgum central police station under the file No SD/54/25/10/2022 and No SD/70/24/10/2022 in connection with their operation.
Meanwhile Kyomukama revealed that police in Aswa river region have launhced a man hunt for Akena who still at large.
Abiaz Rwamwiri, NDA’s public relation manager advised the operators whose drugs were impounded to visit the authority’s Northern region offices in Lira so that they can be guided on how to comply with NDA’s regulations in order to recover their impounded drugs.
He also reminded the drug shop operators that the licensing for 2023 will start on November 01 2022.
Rwamiwiri warned all the opertors still operationg without licenses or employing unqualified personel to halt their operations untill they fulfill the licensing requirments.
Rwamwiri also advised the public to always buy drugs only from licensed phramacies and drugs shops in order to avoid buying drugs that can harm their lives.
Christopher Arwai Obol, the Kitgum district chairperson condemed the vice saying it is causing mortality in the communities in the district.
He in particular expressed concern over health workers being involved vice whose dangers they are much aware of.
“These health workers are behaving as if they do not know their ethical code of conduct”, Obol said.
”If you go to varoius government health facilities there is shortage of drugs and the health workers are reffering our poor people to their private facilities”, he added.