NMS General Manager, Moses Kamabare, leading members of the Ugandan press fraternity
National Medical Stores (NMS) hosted a number of members of the Ugandan press fraternity to a successful Media Engagement on Thursday, 9th May, 2018.
This is part of NMS’ drive to engage the media in particular and the public in general, and open lines of communication and dialogue as we all play a part in watching out for each other’s health and wellbeing.
It started with a tour of the NMS Warehouse, led by NMS General Manager, Moses Kamabare. He detailed the award-winning logistics procedure that has seen NMS, without even increasing its warehouse space, become an award-winning world leader in the field of medicine and medical supplies delivery. Using his own phone, he showed how NMS drivers are requested to go as far as to take pictures of and share the deliveries they make on WhatsApp, all part of a cleverly managed process that involves surveillance at every turn, and negates any temptation for manipulation.
From the loading bay/despatch point the press corps were led into the warehouse. And amidst the mammoth stock, the GM made an even bigger announcement. ‘In our business, we measure our capacity by pallets, and at the moment, in this space, we have a pallet capacity of 8000,’ he revealed. ‘However, we are building a new warehouse on our land in Kajjansi, set to come into operation in 2019, and that shall have a pallet capacity of 30000!’. He readily further revealed that that warehouse shall be one of the biggest of its kind, anywhere. And even then, the Entebbe warehouse shall remain in use, meaning that at full capacity Uganda shall be in the unique position of having enough medicine and medical related stock to cater for most contingencies, notwithstanding the fact that ours is a landlocked country with a fast-growing population.
Next was a visit to the Cold Storage section, where the invitees got the chance to cool off in one of the giant refrigerators, and experience the conditions necessary to store vaccines in to maintain their viability.
But at NMS is not where the journey ends, and on hand was a refrigerator truck (which can also serve as an ordinary truck) to demonstrate how vaccines are transported to thousands of health facilities all over the country, delivery guaranteed due the NMS Last Mile Delivery innovation.
The engagement continued at the Entebbe Golf View Hotel. Moderated by NMS PRO Dan Kimosho, the discussion began with the GM sharing more information on NMS and its operations.
He also highlighted how NMS has been the victim of regular misrepresentation in the media and amongst the public, and appealed to the press to take time to get the truth. He elaborated this by talking of an incident that occurred in Nakawuka, where, after a complaint by a local, he was summoned by a higher authority to the scene of purported crime. ‘I went with the delivery files for that health centre, ready to be fired but with a clean conscience,’ Kamabare revealed, to the amusement of those in attendance.
The files exonerated him, and NMS, of course.
But therein lay the problem- that of NMS regularly being blamed for occurrences that are not of its own doing. It was made clear that NMS was performing perfectly as far as its mandate of procuring, storing and distributing medicines and medical supplies to Government-run health facilities. The way forward was for the media to thus engage the various agencies that deal with the different services involved in health provision.
Kamabare further voiced the hope that, in the near future, the Government would boost NMS funding to the point that its present donor dependency would be eliminated.
For their part, the press persons asked NMS to increase its media and public engagements, adding that what they report is what comes from ‘sources’, and is not simply made up by them on the spur of the moment out of malice. More engagements would easily eliminate any misunderstandings and misrepresentations.
Mr. Kamabare concluded with an appeal to the press to join the ‘NMS Church’ and become preachers of the ‘Gospel according to St. Prevention’. The plea was backed up by the stark statistic that 75% of all ailments presented at our health facilities are preventable. They could have been stopped by simple actions like washing your hands before meals, sleeping under an insecticide-treated net, and wearing safety belts in cars and helmets when on motorbikes.
The engagement ended with a sumptuous lunch, with promises from both sides to continue engaging. It is a partnership that bodes well for our overall health and wellbeing.