How Uganda Can Fix The Problem Of Drug Shortages

“Uganda (for example) has gone a long way in trying to effect the idea of manufacturing medicines. We already have an internationally certified medicine manufacturing industry that only needs expansion. The facilities are there. There is no need to undertake the complicated process of attaining land,” he noted.

The situation in Uganda

Patients continue to die of preventable diseases as a result of having an inadequate stock of medicine in public health facilities.
A 2015 report by the Budget Monitoring and Accountability Unit of Ministry of Finance, shows that more than 90 per cent of public health facilities reported non-supply of ordered medical items, including drugs and stationery in 2014.
Similarly, a 2015 stock status report by the Ministry of Health, Pharmacy division indicated that Uganda was facing a shortage of essential drugs in government health facilities.
The status report showed that essential medicines like tuberculosis drugs, malaria medicines, and polio oral trivalent and measles vaccines were not readily available.

The plan, among other reasons, focuses on supporting production of active pharmaceutical ingredients and excipients as well as promoting the sector specific service industry.
The German government through organisations such as Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) provided technical and financial support for the development and implementation of the action plan as basis for increased local production of pharmaceuticals.

“This launch creates a new opportunity for the region to focus its energy on fully utilising the already installed factories production capacities, and value addition through new products with a specific focus on vaccines,” says Dr Kirsten Focken, GIZ programme manager.
According to Focken, the new goal should ideally be to grow the market share of locally manufactured medicines from the current average of below 30 per cent, and to more than 50 per cent by 2017. This will eventually support job creation and is the most sustainable way to grow investors’ appetite for setting up new factories within the East African Community (EAC).

To successfully implement this plan, Liberat Mfumukeko, the EAC secretary general, says it will require a combined effort of member countries’ ministries of health, national medicines regulatory authorities of EAC partner states, pharmaceutical industries, private sector, international development partners, non-state actors as well as national academic and research institutions.

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