The Local Government Accounts Committee is investigating circumstances under which expired drugs found their way onto hospital selves to be used on unsuspecting patients in Kibaale district.
While undertaking audits for the financial year 2015/2016, officers from the Auditor General’s Office landed on drugs which had got expired five years ago in Kibaale Hospital.
The Auditor General took up supply and drug management as a key audit area in Kibaale district after realizing this mess. Major issues were expired medicines, late deliveries, and delivery of drugs not ordered for. “We also found expired drugs on their shelves,” stated the auditor’s report which was tabled in Parliament in January 2017.
Members of the Local Government Committee were puzzled as to how drugs get expired and are kept in the hospital for more than five years.
“We have a feeling that you are treating our people on expired drugs,” said Hon Reagan Okumu(Aswa), Chairperson Local Government Accounts Committee.
The Chief Executive Officer Mr. John Nyakahuma informed the committee that since 2012, Kagadi Hospital in Kibaale district has failed to get rid of expired drugs.
Members informed the Accounting Officer of the hospital that they were of the view that the reason why expired drugs are still in the hospital is to enable fraudulent staff to substitute them with new supplies, a window for stealing government drugs.
“We are concerned that many people have had complications, get disabled or lose their lives due to use of expired drugs. The Accounting Officer is dillydallying with the situation, which may also be one of the causes of the increasing cancer cases in the country,” said Hon. Ibrahim Kasozi (Makindye East).
According to the Memorandum of Understanding between National Medical Stores and the government, it is the duty and responsibility of NMS to collect all expired drugs as they deliver a new lot. However, Moses Kaahwa, the Administrator of Kibaale Health Centre IV, in defence claimed that the district didn’t have funds to dispose of expired drugs.
“As NMS delivers new medicines, they are also supposed to collect expired drugs. The Auditors also discovered that NMS deliver medicines with short shelf lives leading to drugs getting expired before the next delivery.” Okumu said.
The Local Government Accounts Committee travelled to Hoima to receive respective Accounting Officer’s responses on audit queries for the financial year 2015/2016.
Hoima is part of the Fort portal Audit Region which handles Bunyoro, Toro and Kasese. The Auditor General zoned the country into nine audit regions. All the accounting officers of the 16 districts which were audited were summoned to respond to audit queries.
While, in Hoima, the Committee also inspected road works in the Municipality to establish the progress. When the Committee arrived in Hoima Central Market, traders complained about the high rent, and the lack of enough supplies due to the prolonged draught that hit the country previously.
The Committee came down to the grass root, because when technical officers are invited to Parliament they may make false submissions as opposed to onsite field visits of the queried projects. “If a road is to be finished in two years and it is not, this leads to denials or delay in service provision to the people,”
The Committee Chairperson however, commended Municipalities like Masaka, Arua, Entebbe and Gulu for completing their works in time despite a few issues.