Uganda’s State House Health Monitoring Unit has arrested two Tanzanian nationals who were allegedly found with stolen government drugs worth Shs 35m that were meant to be brought in Tanzania.
Addressing journalists at their offices in Kampala Wednesday, Dr Jackson Ojera Abusu, the head of the unit said Abel Leonard and Yusufu Kasiano intercepted at Mutukula stage in Kisenyi taxi park in Kampala following a tip off by the intelligence unit.
Dr Abusu said drugs packed in boxes were being loaded onto a taxi which raised suspicion from the unit’s intelligence team.
“The owners had disclosed that one of the boxes contained drugs but the rest they reported they were containing skin lightening cream but when searched, we found quite a number of medicines. We captured them as exhibits and arrested two suspects. As I talk now, they are still in custody,” Dr Abusu said.
A total of 257 boxes of antimalarial drugs, Lumiter, Lumartem and a total of 27 malaria strips were recovered and the suspects are being investigated.
Uganda registered an estimated increase of more than 100,000 malaria cases between 2016 and 2017 despite the various preventive interventions against the disease, according to the World Malaria Report 2018.
According to the report, the country also accounts for 4 per cent of malaria cases in the whole world, making it to the top five countries responsible for nearly half of all malaria cases worldwide. Other countries are Nigeria, DRC Congo, Mozambique, and India.
Dr Abusu said the scarcity of drugs in health facilities is because of such unscrupulous people.
“When we hear most health facilities complain of stock outs of medicines, it is not true but such people are always out there to deprive health facilities of such important medicine,” Dr Abusu said.
A health worker who only identified herself as Catherine said for such kind of acts to end, the unit needs to investigate health workers as well.
“I am not pointing out health workers as a root cause but most of our bosses; these in charges, own clinics. They steal drugs then at the end of the day we have shortages, “Catherine said.
The Health Monitoring Unit said intelligence units are at the boarders to stop such acts.