The National Drug Authority (NDA) has closed at least 117 drug shops, pharmacies and clinics over failure to meet various requirements. The reasons for closure included operating without a license, lack of qualified personnel, unsuitable premises and carrying out activities they are not mandated to do.
“We carried out the operation to save people’s lives and we are still closing more. Ugandans are being treated by unqualified personnel who have never stepped in any medical class. People should go to health centres which have well displayed licenses from NDA,” an official confirmed to this website.
NDA conducted the operations between Oct 19th and 30th to crackdown down on drug outlets operating in none compliance with their licensing requirements and dealing in unauthorized medicines in greater Acholi, Karamoja and Lango sub-regions.
The operations covered 21 districts including among others Gulu, Nwoya, Amuru, Omoro, Kitgum, Lamwo, Pader, Agago, Abim, Kotido, Kaboong, Karenga, Lira, Dokolo, Amolator, Kwania, Apac, Kole, Oyam, Alebtong and Otuke. At least 1,153 drug outlets were inspected. 540 were found to be licensed and 330 unlicensed.
117 were found to be operating illegally and therefore closed. The operation also saw the recovery of 391 boxes of assorted medicine worth Shillings 49 million. According to NDA, some of the impounded drugs will be returned to their owners after securing an operational license.
Some of the closed drug shops were found using unqualified personnel, others were found in possession of government drugs whereas some were offering clinical services like admission.
Ronald Ayo, an enrolled comprehensive nurse operating a drug shop at Ongura trading center in Ngetta sub county argued that he normally pays for the licenses in December. However, the inspectors wouldn’t listen to his pleas saying an operational license should be acquired at the beginning of the year.
Unlike Ayo, Ronald Owor, a student of Bachelors of Science in Midwifery at Lira University was lucky that his drug shop wasn’t closed. Owor had used his brother’s certificate in enrolling nursing to register his drug shop.
However, by the time of the operation, NDA had not yet processed his licenses. He successfully explained to the team his challenges and that saved his outlet.
Brenda Atim who was found seated in Hope drug shop in Opem- Barr sub-county simply said her drug shop was only one week old and she didn’t see any reason why she needed to get a license from NDA.
Just like the rest, the drugs in Atim’s drug shop were impounded. Samuel Kyomukama, the NDA head of enforcement explained that NDA has a responsibility of ensuring that the population is served with safe and quality drugs.
David Kaggwa, the NDA manager Northern Region explained that the number of drug shops operating as clinics are on the rise due to challenges at government health facilities.
He said they intend to work with the Allied health council which regulates clinical practices in the country to address the challenges. “Otherwise for NDA we regulate drugs that are in the drug shops but we must come together as government bodies to ensure that the system is well streamlined,” he said.
Two people were arrested for operating illegal drug shops and being in possession of government properties especially assorted medicines. They are Emmanuel Ogule from Alebtong district and Nancy Atimango from Gulu city. They are currently detained at Gulu CPS under SD reference 37/19/10/2020 Alebtong CPs vide SD reference 28/29/10/2020.
Samuel Kyomukama, the NDA head of enforcement explained that the duo will be charged with illegal possession of government properties under the NDA Act.
NDA is planning to continue with the operation.