Moses Kamabare Gets New Term at NMS, Targets New Challenges
Health Minister Dr Ruth Aceng has reappointed National Medical Stores (NMS) General Manager, Moses Kamabare, saying his previous terms have witnessed “excellent performance” in the procurement, storage and delivery of health supplies across Uganda. “As a General Manager and CEO of National Medical Stores, Mr Moses Kamabare has a good and cordial working relationship with the Ministry of Health and other stakeholders based on mutual respect,” said Aceng in a letter to Parliament.
“His performance is evaluated annually by the National Medical Stores Board of Directors, in accordance with the National Medical Stores Act and has at all times been confirmed to be excellent.” Kamabare, whose tenure has seen a fundamental transformation of the NMS operations including digitization of the drug delivery systems, was reappointed on November 2019. NMS is currently completing civil works a 30,000-pallet warehouse located in Kajjansi.
According to Kamabare, the warehouse will significantly bolster NMS’ capacity to stock and ensure safe custody EMHS; provide office space as well as space for other clients in need of storage materials.“This provides significant leverage for NMS to generate internal revenue from clients such as Global Fund, WFP among others,” said Kamabare. NMS has moved to install a state-of-the-art gas plant at its new state-of-the-art pharmaceuticals warehouse in Kajjansi.
At NMS’ pharmaceutical warehouse in Kajjansi, floor works will include setting up a rump at the filling station for easy transportation of refilled cylinder from the plant. The modern medical oxygen plant will allow clients to generate their own oxygen for their medical-grade requirements like EMS (Emergency Medical Services), ambulance, fire departments, small hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, veterinary and animal hospitals among others.
“Many hospitals are asking for oxygen and currently they are competing with welders who pay cash,” said Kamabare.“If you don’t pay cash, it is hard to get oxygen. We now want to secure the future of oxygen in Uganda with a new plant capable of producing 100 cylinders per day,” he added. NMS recently distributed 28 million mosquito nets across Uganda, with a donor partner suggesting the model employed by NMS should be used as a “best practice” and shared with other countries.
A best practice is a method or technique that has been generally accepted as superior to any alternatives because it produces results that are superior to those achieved by other means or because it has become a standard way of doing things. Against Malaria Foundation, a London-based non-governmental appreciation for National Medical Stores (NMS) team “throughout this campaign in the due diligence, prompt and timely reporting and responding to enquiries and concerns and the level of detail provided. “I would advise the entire NMS process is documented as a best practice and shared with other countries.”
Health Ministry Permanent Secretary Dr Diana Atwine said NMS should develop a modern software to track the distribution of mosquito nets up to the final recipient. “NMS you didn’t let our trust down. It is one agency of government you don’t have to worry. If there is any activity of government you want to be done will be done the way you want it. This bar you have set challenges us to match that quality and culture of work; we have to be results-oriented, perfectionists and emphasises timeliness,” said Atwine.
According to Dr Charles Olaro, Director General Health Services at the Ministry of Health, distribution of mosquito nets has contributed to the reduction of Malaria in the country with the national Malaria prevalence dropping to 9% in 2019 compared to 17% in 2014/2015.Malaria kills between 14 to 16 people daily, resulting in 4,000 deaths annually.
NMS has undertaken the development of an Enterprise resource planner with the help of USAID and Government of Uganda funding to enhance the quality of NMS customer service through secure self-service option, implement business intelligence tools to support better decision making, continuously improve NMS’s business processes and lower IT costs and other operating expenses.
On the technology front, NMS developed the NMS Smart Care – a set of online tools that enable Health Facilities and the general public to receive real time information about NMS deliveries and give feedback to the institution.The tools include mobile APPS – NMS SMART CARE APP and NMS LMD APP in Google Play Store.
For NMS clients who may not be able to use these tools, they have a dedicated code 6090 where they can send text messages directly and receive feedback. Internally, NMS Smart Care has enabled NMS to greatly improve on the resolution time and effective handling of feedback submitted by Public Health Facilities. Every feedback is received, logged and assigned to the appropriate officer for action. Due to NMS Smart Care, NMS now resolves over 200 complaints per month as compared to 300 complaints that used to be resolved in a whole year. NMS Smart Care generates statistics and reports that have enabled NMS to greatly improve and strengthen NMS’ Core Value of Customer Satisfaction
Another reason for the renewal of Kamabare’s appointment is that NMS has consistently achieved 100% absorption rate of the funds allocated by Government in the National Budget. In the FY 2017/2018 the funds absorption rate was 100% and in FY 2018/2019 it was 99.9%. This, according to officials, reflects the capacity of NMS management to optimally utilize available resources to deliver institutional objectives.
Notably, NMS has consistently received unqualified accounts from the Auditor General’s Office, underscoring the institution’s sound financial management. NMS procures a good proportion of EMHS from local manufactures in Uganda, supporting domestic manufacturers. For instance, in FY2017/18, the locally sourced EMHS constituted 55% of the total value of stock procured in that financial year and in 2018/19 locally sourced EMHS constituted 51% of the total value of stock.
Critical in the business of logistics and supply chain management is availability of stock.NMS has consistently achieved higher than target score, FY2017/18 attained 90% stock availability for EMHS and 86% for Tracer items against a target of 75% set by MoH. In the FY 2018/19, NMS attained 92% stock availability for 41 Tracer Medicines at Central level against a target of 80% from MoH.
NMS emerged the best performing central Government Procurement and Disposal Entity with a score of 91.3% in FY 2017/18. In 2019, NMS Smart Care Tool won the E-Government Excellence Award of 2019 in Health Sector. Internationally, UNICEF recognized NMS for exceptional achievement in EVM (Effective Vaccine Management) in FY 2017/18. This was a second time in a row. The management of vaccines has been enabled by reliable supply of Gas and maintenance of cold chain equipment across the Country.
Last Mile Delivery (Last Mile Delivery)
It is understood President Museveni endorsed the reappointment of Kamabare partly for developing capacity to deliver EMHS to the last mile. NMS directly deliver EMHS to districts from where they are distributed to the lower Health Facilities by LMD Agents contracted by NMS. To ensure improved chain of custody throughout the supply chain, NMS installed 112 cross dock containers at districts in 2017 and recruited LMD clerks to monitor deliveries.
This is expected to further bolster chain of custody of EMHS from the central NMS warehouse to the lowest health facility.
Amid all these successes, NMS continues to face challenges. For example, drugs are stolen after being delivered by NMS in health facilities. “To stop theft and other loss of EMHS along the supply chain, NMS is implementing an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system that is intended to digitize the entire supply chain process end to end in order to ensure effective tracking of EMHS to the final users,” said NMS operations boss, Paul Okware.
“Upon full operationalization of ERP, NMS will have the capacity to trace the medical supplies to the final user (patients and other healthcare clients) through individual identification using the national identification number (NIN) that will be captured into the ERP system,” he emphasised.This will provide end-user data that will then be reconciled with procurement and distribution data to ensure that there is no leakage in the supply chain.
A client satisfaction survey conducted in 2020 across the country on the overall performance covering areas of distribution, delivery and supply systems; range, quantity, quality, shelf-life and packaging of EMHS; quality assurance systems; personality and skills of NMS staff; information dissemination; complaint management; and Vaccines and gases was 79%.
This is an improvement of 77% in 2012, 78% in 2013, 77% in 2016 and 79% in 2020.