The Minister of Health, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng and the Minister of State for Finance in charge of General Duties, Henry Musasizi traded accusations in parliament over the shortage of drugs in government hospitals.
The two ministers went head-to-head during a session in parliament on Wednesday in which Dr Aceng was required to issue a statement before the House on the said shortage of drugs.
While the minister acknowledged that the country has been hit by a drug shortage, she accused the Ministry of Finance of frustrating the work of the Health Ministry.
“The Ministry of Finance considers some payments and leaves out others, this frustrates service delivery. As a result of delayed payments, our ability to timely deliver essential medicines to government health facilities has been negatively impacted,” Dr Aceng said.
Aceng said that the the distribution of essential medicine is a continuous activity which is based on a pre-determined schedule.
“For this to be achieved, it presupposes that funds for the distribution are readily available and this has not been the case.”
Dr Aceng argued that the Ministry of Health, by nature of its docket, needs to be treated with urgency when it comes to disbursement of funds, hence should get funds on the first day of the quarter.
“The others can wait but let the National Medical Stores get money, if that is not possible then we return to NMS operational funds returned to the Central Bank for flexibility,” she said.
“We are losing people, we are losing lives,”Aceng added.
However, in reply, Minister Henry Musasizi dismissed the accusations from Dr Aceng, insisting that the Ministry of Health has received 60 per cent of their budget appropriation, hence should be able to provide services to the people.
Musasizi’s comments irked the Members of Parliament with Kazo legislator Dan Kimosho lambasting the minister for failure to respond to the urgent needs of the people.
“These officials come here to speak English and they forget that people are dying,” Kimosho said.
The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Thomas Tayebwa expressed disappointment with the two ministers.
“This is the problem, all your disagreements are leading to people dying,” he said.
Tayebwa asked that the Prime Minister meets with the line ministers from the two ministries to harmonise.