The National Drug Authority (NDA) is set to accredit public hospitals to ensure they meet the required standards of drug storage. The process takes effect this month.
The Executive Director of NDA Gordon Sematiko says the hospital should have a premise that meets the size and interior standard unlike the current practice of allocating a pharmacy in a random room.
Without citing examples he also notes that some hospitals get unqualified pharmacy personnel to man them which needs to be clarified.
Public hospitals however, have an advantage that even if they come short of the standards, they are given a grace period to improve while private for profit hospitals are normally shut down.
As priority this year the NDA is also emphasizing use of blister packs in all private facilities, while loose packs of capsules and tablets will be left to the public hospitals.
In the next six months NDA expects that the available stock will be complete before a countrywide enforcement exercise kicks off. Any private facility with loose packs will be considered a government store.
Sematiko also revealed that any drug outlet being licensed now is being given a ten digit number known as a facility identity number. The drug outlets are expected to use the digits on their documents and signposts.
This will help drug consumers report any drug malpractice and irregularities considering many outlets use almost the same name.
The NDA has also eased transportation of its district drug inspectors by providing 15 motorcycles to 15 districts.
These include Iganga, Jinja, Amuru, Pader, Lira, Zombo Moyo, Katakwi, Mbale, Masaka, Luweero, Hoima, Kabarole, Kanungu and Rakai.
Another batch of 20 motorcycles is expected to be given out in the middle of the year depending on district and individual performance and accessibility.