President Yoweri Museveni has directed the ministry of health to shut down all private pharmacy shops in government health facilities and centres with immediate effect.
In the directive dated September 30, 2019, Museveni told the Minister Jane Ruth Aceng, that he has information that most of the pharmacies within government facilities are owned by health workers who are ripping off citizens.
“I am writing to direct you to close all the privately owned pharmacy shops in government health centres. I am told that those pharmacies are owned by health workers. Instead of prescribing the use of government medicine, they prescribe the selling of their own drugs.”
Ugandans have been complaining of the lack of medicines in public health facilities. Most claim that when they attend to health centres, they are only given pain killers and a few antibiotics then asked to foot the bill for other medicines which are always readily available at pharmacies located within government health centres.
In Mulago Hospital for instance, First Pharmacy is prominently running business, which leaves a lot of questions regarding the loyalty of the health workers at the hospital.
To handle the issue of loyalty, Museveni has directed that health workers and scientists have their salaries revised immediately.
“By copy of this letter, I am also directing the Minister of Public Service to conclude the issue of pay to government scientists and university teachers by moving them to the desired levels we previously agreed ─ Professor – Shs.15million, University Lecturer-Shs.12.2million, Senior Consultant Medical -Shs.17million, Director of Science – Shs. 16million, Doctors – Shs.5 million, Scientist- Shs. 3.5million, etc., without mixing it with the pay for the non-academic and non-technical personnel. The latter will be handled later when we are able.”
Museveni argues that paying health workers better will help them avoid the temptation of selling government drugs and provide better services.
Paying the medical workers, the government scientists and the academicians well removes the temptation of double loyalty ─ to the public service and to the private interest of the employee.
— Yoweri K Museveni (@KagutaMuseveni) October 2, 2019
“Paying the medical workers, the government scientists and the academicians well removes the temptation of double loyalty ─ to the public service and to the private interest of the employee. We can, then, be able to ban completely the practice of government health workers, running parallel clinics or drug shops. It was not reasonable to do that when the salaries were so low.”