By Immaculate Amony
National Drugs Authority has closed an estimated 270 unlicensed drug shops in Northern Uganda.
This followed an impromptu crack down on unlicensed drug shops being operated by unqualified personnel in 16 Districts within the region within the past week.
The operation was conducted in the 16 districts of Gulu, Pader, Kitgum, Mwoya, Lamwo, Agago and Omoro in Acholi sub region and Kole, Kwania, Apac, Oyam, Amolatar, Lira, Dokolo, Alebtong and Otuke in Lango sub region.
Fredrick Ssekyana, the NDA public Relations Officer explained the details of the operation saying they even visited veterinary drug shops.
During the operations in all regions covered, veterinary outlets inspected were 58 and 121 boxes of assorted medicines estimated at 70,200,000/-.
Giving an example of a 72-year-old woman who lost her hearing ability after being treated with an expired drug in Ogur Sub county, Dr. Patrick Buchan Ocen, the District Health officer advised that the operation should be done routinely because the unethical practices risk the lives of the consumers.
Meanwhile Kyomukama Samuel, the Enforcement Officer confirmed the arrests of some culprits saying they will be produced in the courts of law.
On the other hand, the NDA Regional Manager David Kagwa, highlighted that unqualified personnel operating drug shops, drug shops conducting clinical works like admitting and injecting patients, and unsuitable premises which compromises the quality of medicines are some of the challenges they encountered during their filed operation and appealed to the general public to be vigilant and report more of such cases to the relevant authorities.
According to records obtained from the National Medical Stores offices in Lira, a cumulative total of 945 drug outlets were visited since the beginning of the NDA operation in March 2019, including other regions, leading to closure of 454 drug shops, impounding of 764 boxes of assorted medicines estimated at 294,500,000/- and effecting 32 arrests.