Health Ministry On the Spot Over Hepatitis B Management

2376 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
The verification exercise by the Ministry of Finance in April 2016 indicates that the Health ministry failed to procure anti-retroviral drugs for treatment of people who have tested positive with the virus, estimated at 3.5 million.

A special audit report on Hepatitis B Virus programme has faulted the Ministry of Health on poor management of vaccination.

The verification exercise by the Ministry of Finance in April 2016 indicates that the Health ministry failed to procure anti-retroviral drugs for treatment of people who have tested positive with the virus, estimated at 3.5 million.
 
The letter dated August 22, signed by Permanent Secretary, Keith Muhakanizi and tabled before Parliament's Health committee today, further points to low absorption of procured vaccines due to failure to match the test kits to the vaccines. Muhakanizi also mentions use of non-pre-qualified suppliers for test kits and supplying same vaccine to various districts at different prices, among others.
 
The report further mentions the inadequate preparatory work by the ministry preceding the implementation of Hepatitis B vaccination in affected districts launched in March 2015.
 
At 23.9%, Karamoja sub region has the highest prevalence rates of Hepatitis B, followed by Northern Uganda at 20.7%, West Nile at 18.5% and Western region whose prevalence rate stands at 10%.
 
The report was tabled by Kasambya County MP, Mbwatekamwa Gaffa, who questioned health officials, led by Minister Jane Aceng on the report.
 
Mbwatekamwa wondered why the minister had not put the issues before Parliament.
 
//Cue In: "I just wish...
Cue Out:...contrary."//
 
However, Aceng explained that the ministry was given only ten billion shillings last year for the vaccination programme.  
 
//Cue In: "Parliament gives us money...
Cue Out:...challenges."//
 
On the use of non-pre-qualified suppliers for test kits and supplying same vaccine to various districts at different prices,  Moses Kamabare, the General Manager of National Medical Stores, denied this, noting that the public procurement law allows them to procure kits from different sources. 

 

About the author

Olive Eyotaru
Olive Eyotaru is a URN journalist based in Kampala. Eyotaru has been a URN staff member since February 2015.

Eyotaru started practising journalism while still studying at Uganda Christian University. She was a reporter with Ultimate Media Consult Ltd between 2005 and 2007.

In 2009, Eyotaru joined Monitor Publications Limited, under KFM Radio as a parliamentary and business reporter. Consequently, Eyotaru started writing for the Daily Monitor newspaper until January 2015, when she moved to URN.

She is interested in reporting about politics, health, human rights, business and sports.