mulago hospital closes first pharmacy ecopharm
The First pharmacy, Ecopharm, closed in Mulago hospital after the government shut down all private pharmacies. FILE PHOTO

After the government closed the doors to all privately owned pharmacies in its hospitals, the First Pharmacy, Ecopharm, ceased operations in Mulago Hospital.

Several privately owned pharmacies, including First Pharmacy and Ecopharm, shut their doors out of Mulago hospital Monday after the government instructed all private pharmacies to cease operations in government-run hospitals.

President Yoweri Museveni in a letter dated February directed all private pharmacies operating inside government hospitals to vacate the hospital premises on account that they were owned by the very people working under these health facilities.

In a bid to ensure this is done, the health minister Dr Jane Ruth Aceng earlier directed the National Drug Authority (NDA) to spearhead the eviction of these pharmacies.

Speaking to journalists, the National Drug ​Authority (NDA)’s PRO Abiaz Rwamwiri said the communication was sent out to all Executive Directors of National Referral Hospitals, directors of Regional Referral Hospitals, medical superintendents of general hospitals and in-charges of health centres IIs, IIIs and IVs to ensure this is done.

Rwamwiri noted that two pharmacies have so far been forced to shut down operations from the hospital premises.

The two including First pharmacy and Ecopharm have been operating inside Mulago hospital since 2018 and the NDA PRO said that they both did not possess operating licenses.

Last week, the State House Health Monitoring Unit said Ecopharm pharmacy had defaulted on sh135m in rent by November 2021

The monitoring unit also revealed that First Pharmacy owed the hospital up to shs 67.5 million.

This comes at a time when the Mulago Hospital Executive Director, Dr Byarugaba Baterana was suspended over issues related to mismanagement with a sum of about shs28.8billion cited out to have been spent by the hospital but unaccounted for.

In a letter dated March 2, 2022, Dr Diana Atwine, health ministry Permanent Secretary noted that owing to the ongoing investigations into abuse of office, embezzlement, causing financial loss and fraudulent false accounting, it is prudent that Baterana steps aside.

“Pursuant to section F-s and F-r of the Public Service Standing Orders 2021, you are hereby interdicted for duty to pave way for investigations and you will receive half pay with immediate effect until the charges against you have been cleared,” the letter reads in part.

Similarly, Baterana was requested to hand over the office to his deputy, Dr Rosemary Byanyima but also to stay away from the hospital premises to allow the commencement of investigations. 

Reading further, the ED was also blocked from leaving the country without clear written permission.

This followed an audit report from the State House Health Monitoring Unit citing that the hospital was involved in the irregular recruitment of two firms that used faked documents to enable them to win a tender to provide services at the hospital.