By Our Reporter
KAMPALA: The National Medical Stores (NMS) is seeking 298 billion shillings to offset the projected funding gaps arising from the declining 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, the government must now 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 Shs31 billion,” said Kamabare.
Kamabare was appearing before the Health Committee on Tuesday where he presented NMS’ Budget Framework Paper for the financial year 2022/2023 totaling to Shs513 billion.
He said that the anticipated reduction in external funding will affect the management of malaria.
Kamabare requested for Shs35 billion 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 and asked Kamabale to consider a revision.
Jinja South West Division Member of Parliament, Hon. Timothy Batuwa said the Shs40 billion total budget for malaria is too little compared to the population and the disease burden.
Bulambuli District Woman MP, Hon. Irene Muloni said the budget is blind about access to 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,” Muloni said.
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.
Hon. Samuel Opio (Indep., 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 mobilization for Covid-19 vaccination had affected utilization 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.