Dr Elioda Tumwesigye, the Minister or Science, Technology and Innovation

The government is set to embrace the new system of electronic medical records in all health facilities to correspond with the National Identification System.

Addressing a press conference at the ministry headquarters this morning, health minister Dr Elioda Tumwesigye said the ministry is committed to integrating both systems to improve the management of patients, drugs and health supplies.

“This will help generate better projections for drug requirements and provide timely accountability,” the minister said.

Mr Tumwesigye was responding to contents of a Global Fund Audit report of the national systems in relation to the implementation of the interventions supported by their grants, which was one of the organization’s routine audits.

The GF raised among other concerns low absorption of the grant funds that were sent to the country, but the minister said that his ministry receives 5% of the grants in country operational costs while 95% is retained by the GF for pooled procurements. He added that the expenditure of the 5% is on schedule in line with the approved work plan mutually agreed upon by the government and the Global Fund.

“Most of the money not yet expended is mainly procurements of supplies and services for various activities; we however acknowledge that our procurement processes are very slow and bureaucratic,” Dr Tumwesigye said.

On the issue of stockouts of antiretroviral drugs, the minister said that this was occasioned by an increase in the number of patients on treatment in the public sector, which rose from 21% to 34% in 2015.

He added that the exchange rate depreciation which the country experienced in 2015 also played a negative role, noting that procurement is done in dollars while release of funds from the Ministry of Finance is done in shillings.

To address the issue, he said, the government through the Quality Chemicals (CIPLA) has provided for medicines worth US$10 million which is being distributed through the National Medical Stores.

“Regarding the use of expired kits, it is surprising to the ministry that any qualified health worker can use expired kits. The ministry condemns this act and has initiated an investigation and the concerned officers will be tasked to explain,” Dr Tumwesigye said.