NDA orders private pharmacies out of Mulago
This comes just days after Mulago Hospital's Executive Director, Dr Byarugaba Baterana was suspended for alleged mismanagement. FILE PHOTO

Private pharmacies located inside government facilities, including Mulago hospital, have been ordered to vacate the premises by the National Drug Authority (NDA).

The National Drug Authority (NDA) has directed all private pharmacies located inside government facilities including Mulago hospital to vacate the premises with immediate effect.

“The president by a letter dated February 8, 2022, directed that all private pharmacies operating inside government hospitals should vacate. Subsequently, the Minister for Health has directed NDA to implement the said directive. Accordingly, NDA has requested the pharmacists in charge of the affected pharmacies to implement the directive with immediate effect,” a notice from the NDA chairperson, Dr Medard Bitekyerezo reads in part.

The communication was addressed 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.

This comes only days after the Mulago Hospital Executive Director, Dr Byarugaba Baterana was suspended from his role at the hospital on allegations related to mismanagement.

Baterana together with six other officials from the hospital were arrested earlier this week by the State House Health Monitoring Unit to help in investigations surrounding the said allegations.

“We are querying mismanagement of resources, medicines and equipment at the hospital. As the head of the hospital, he is responsible and we invited him to help us with the ongoing investigations mid last month,” Dr Warren Naamara, the State Unit head said at a presser earlier this week.

Baterana is also accused of allowing private pharmacies to operate in Mulago Hospital illegally and reports on this indicate that he agreed to a 10-year memorandum of understanding and tenancy agreements.

The pharmacies in question include Ecopharm and First Pharmacy that operate within Mulago hospital preemies.

This has, however, since been followed up by a suspension letter being sent to Baterana. 

In a letter dated March 2, 2022, Dr Atwine the 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, he has been 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. 

The ED was also blocked from leaving the country without clear written permission.