A number of efforts are ongoing to improve access to pharmaceuticals and supplies in the area of maternal health in Uganda. Ongoing efforts range from changes in procurement procedures between public health facilities and National Medical Stores, to initiatives undertaken to improve access to “tracer medicines” within public and private health institutions. The latter in particular has resulted in 64% of health units in Uganda having no stock outs for the 2014/2015 financial year. This has been mainly attributed to the growth in village health team-led (VHT) interventions as alternative distribution channels in rural areas, increase in health sector staffing, and deliberate focus on increasing access to tracer medicines.
However, significant challenges still exist for the distribution of Essential Medicines and Health Supplies (EMHS) in maternal health that include among others human resource constraints (adequacy, distribution disparities and skill gaps); communication breakdown between communities, health facilities, district health offices and the central level which leads to poor planning and forecasting; communities not utilizing the reproductive health services put in place; lack or limited access to supplies and consumables; and abuse of the referral systems.
As such, we are calling on youth to develop solutions that can improve access to maternal health pharmaceuticals and supplies in Uganda.