By Kampala Post Reporter
The United States of America Ambassador to Uganda Deborah Malac, on Thursday handed over the prefabricated medicine stores to the UPDF 1 Infantry Division headquarters at Kakiri Wakiso district.
During the ceremony, spiced by the UPDF brass band, keys to 13 other stores were handed over to Chief Administrative Officers (CAOs) of the respective benefiting districts. In her remarks while handing over the facilities, Mrs Malac said “the assistance reflects USA government’s commitment to support the modernization of the health commodities supply chain in Uganda, through various investments.”
According to the UPDF, the facilities are expected to increase storage space for health commodities including antiretroviral medicines and support the roll out of the tests and treats strategy to achieve HIV/AIDs control by ensuring that Ugandans living with HIV can receive their medicines and be dispensed in adequate quantities. Although the store facilities come under the HIV/AIDS program, they are spacious enough to accommodate all medicines for the benefiting facilities.
The Chief of Staff Land Forces Maj Gen Leopold Kyanda, in a speech read for him by Brig. Kusasiira, thanked the US government for the unconditional support they have rendered to Uganda especially the UPDF. He mentioned the remodeled HIV clinic at Kakiri as an immediate example of the aid, adding that the US has always been a strategic ally of the UPDF. Gen Kyanda called for strengthening of the already existing relationship between the two countries. He assured the ambassador that UPDF will put to effective use the facility given.
The Division Commander Maj Gen. Samuel Kawagga also thanked the US embassy for the support always rendered especially in the health sector. He reported that although the facility has been built for UPDF, it will serve all other Ugandans like it has always done. “We are Jeshi la wannaichi” – meaning, people’s army.That is our ideology. That’s why you find that 85% of the people using our facilities like; the health centre, school, water and others are civilians and we are proud of that,” he said.
The occasion was also attended by Dr. Charles Olaro the acting Director General of Health Services in Ministry of Health and 14 chief administrative officers from the benefiting districts. USAID through Ministry of Health built 26 stores in 22 districts. 14 have been completed and handed over while the remaining 12 are expected to be completed and handed over by late September.
The stores were built as a result of a physical assessment of public health facilities carried out in 2013. The assessment indicated that 15% of the health facilities did not have adequate drug space. To address the issue, the USA government through its implementing agency USAID, mandated Ministry of Health to undertake construction of 26 medicine stores in selected public health facilities in 22 districts.