Even when the Ugandan Gov. have the funds for health care and medicine; they still mismanage the funds or does not procure the necessary kits, staff or proof of use of the Global Funds; findings from the Audit Report of February of 2016 from The Global Funds!
There been reported how the Global Fund has gone through and report how the donor funds to Government of Uganda (GoU) and the Ministry of Health. As the Value for Money way of auditing and describing the state of the programs that has been funded by this donor funding; this is especially against the diseases like Tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and Malaria. This is the situation of the funds and how it was used. This is interesting to see how the Government of Uganda has been coming to accountability and responsibility toward the procurement and accessing the monies, as they was not using the allocated funds or unaccounted for. There is questions for why certain projects are so slow in procurement and why there is too little of specialized kits in the National Medicine Stores (NMS) as they had budget for a dozen more than; when the audit was happening. That is a worrying sign. But look at the quotes from the Global Fund report from February 2016, and see what the important pieces from it are!
“The Global Fund support in Uganda:
Since its inception in Uganda in 2002, the Global Fund has signed a total of 20 grants amounting to USD 1 billion, USD 623 million of which had been disbursed to the country at the time of the audit” (…)”The grants are implemented by two Principal Recipients, The Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development and The AIDS Support Organization (TASO). The Ministry of Finance has delegated responsibilities with respect to implementation of the grants to the Ministry of Health” (…)”Approximately 90% of Global Fund grants to Uganda are spent on the procurement of medicines and health products. The Secretariat’s Pooled Procurement Mechanism procures all health commodities with the exception of tuberculosis drugs which are procured by the Global Drug Facility” (P: 4, 2016).
Ratings of the work:
The rating of the operations tells a story on how the services are delivered in the country. As the Programmatic and Performance where you can see the accuracy and support decision making to check the quality service, second part is the Financial and Fiduciary how to use the actual grants and check them in an effective manner, this two both the Programmatic and Performance, and the Financial and Fiduciary is handled in a Partial Plan to become Effective (P: 5, 2016).
The Health service and Products which is the ability of the supply chain, deliver services, account the quality assured medicines and health manners in timely manner; the second rated work is the Governance, Oversight and Management it is the quadrate and the effectiveness of the grants and implementations of the arrangements. These two parts is not run effective by the government (P: 5, 2016).
“The Global Fund has signed a total of 20 grants amounting to USD 1 billion, USD 623 million of which has been disbursed to the Republic of Uganda since 2002” (…) ”Approximately 90% of grant funds are spent on the procurement, storage and distribution of health commodities. The Global Fund’s Pooled Procurement Mechanism buys the majority of the medicines and health products on behalf of the country, which has significantly improved procurement timelines and reduced commodity prices” (…)”Uganda has made progress in the control and treatment of HIV, tuberculosis and malaria with a reduction in new infections and/or incidence. However, if unaddressed, pervasive stock-outs of key medicines at all levels will result in treatment disruption for patients. Seventy per cent of the 50 health facilities visited during the audit reported stock-outs of at least one critical medicine, with HIV drugs being the most affected of the three diseases” (…) ”Differences of USD 21.4 million were noted between book and actual stocks at the National Medical Stores for 15 commodity types procured by the government and the Global Fund. The audit could not apportion the variance between the government and the Global Fund since the stores’ inventory system does not segregate physical stocks by source” (…) ”16.5 million condoms that should have been distributed for free were sold through social marketing. The funds generated from the sales (USD 0.2 million) remain unaccounted for” (P: 6, 2016).
Executive Summary Part II:
“The country’s change of HIV treatment policy and scale up plans have increased the number of patients eligible for treatment without a corresponding increase in government funding. This will result in a treatment funding gap of at least USD 90 million in 2016 if not addressed.
Consequently, the Global Fund is ‘front-loading’ commodities planned for 2016/17 to 2015 to address medicine shortages” (…)”Twelve per cent out of the 50 facilities visited were performing HIV tests with expired test kits and, contrary to national guidelines, 14% of facilities visited did not perform confirmatory tests on clients diagnosed as HIV positive. This raises the risk of clients getting false HIV results” (…)”The Secretariat, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, has introduced data quality assessments. Vacant positions are to be filled to address the data related issues. However, funding for tools, training and supervision remains a challenge” (…)”There was also weak management of advances with some remaining outstanding for over 20 months. Value added taxes amounting to USD 0.3 million had also not been refunded to the programs. The audit identified expenses for which there was not adequate supporting documentation, amounting to USD 3.9 million” (…)”While the country lacks adequate funding to cover key activities, it has a low absorption of the limited grant funds that are sent to the country. The OIG noted that only 46% of funds disbursed to the Ministry of Finance between January 2013 and June 2015 had been spent at the time of the audit” (P: 7, 2016).
“70% of the health facilities reported stock-outs of anti-retroviral medicines and HIV test kits of between three weeks and four months” (…)”68% of facilities reported stock outs of anti-malaria medicines and test kits in the previous six-month period” (…)”64% of the facilities reported stock-outs of TB medicines of between one week and three months” (P: 9, 2016).
“Use of medicines to treat other diseases: The audit noted that 32% of the 50 facilities visited treated 1,254 Hepatitis B patients with anti-retroviral medicines. The quantification of anti-retroviral medicines does not take into consideration their use for the treatment for Hepatitis B patients. This has contributed to stock-outs of anti-retroviral medicines for HIV patients who are the primary target of these medicines” (P: 9, 2016).
Gaps in HIV counselling and testing practices:
“Twelve per cent out of the 50 facilities visited were performing HIV tests with expired test kits” (…)”Contrary to national guidelines, 14% of the facilities visited did not perform confirmatory tests on clients diagnosed as HIV positive” (P: 11, 2016).
Inadequate and ineffective condom procurement and distribution processes:
“Condoms that should have been received in country in 2011 were only received in late 2013 due to a protracted procurement processes” (…)”Contrary to the grant agreement, 16.5 million condoms that should have been distributed to users for free were provided to Marie Stopes Uganda, a contractor, by the Ministry of Health and sold through a social marketing mechanism” (P: 12, 2016).
Subsidized anti-malarial medicines not accessible and affordable:
“Consequently, medicines are sold above the recommended price that is UGX 5,000 and not UGX 3,500” (…)”there is no instituted mechanism to ensure that the subsidized medicines are distributed outside the big cities to malaria endemic areas” (P: 12, 2016). “Key positions budgeted for under the Global Fund grants also remained vacant: for example, 17 out of the 43 pharmacists and HIV, TB and malaria focal points for the regional performance monitoring teams were not at post during the audit” (P: 13, 2016).
Difference between what they have funded to get and what they had at NMS:
“Between Global Fund commodities issued by national Medical Stores and received by health facilities: The National Medical Stores inventory system indicated that 3.7 million test kits had been issued to a facility, but the facility recorded a receipt of only 3,000 kits. While the National Medical Stores indicated that the variance amounting to USD 2.41 million may be due to errors in the inventory management system, this could not be verified by the OIG auditors. The variance also affects the closing quantities based on the inventory management system and actual stock at the national medical stores” (P: 14, 2016).
“In-country quality assurance of medicines: The National Drug Authority charges 2% (amounting to USD 3.8 million from January 2013 to June 2015)39 of the “free on board” value of medicines and pharmaceutical products for in-country quality assurance. While bed nets and condoms had been tested, there was no evidence that medicines (including anti-malaria and anti-retroviral) supplied by the Global Fund were tested by the Authority” (P: 15, 2016).
“Questionable value for money: Charges of USD 3.8 million (from January 2013 to June 2015) by the National Drug Authority for testing of medicines, for which there is no evidence that testing actually happened” (…)”Cancellation of an order for the purchase of HIV test kits under the Pooled Procurement Mechanism which has resulted in a loss of USD 427,500. The manufacturer has indicated that the commodities have already been manufactured and cannot be supplied to any other country due to level of customization requested by the Ministry of Health” (…)”Payments amounting to USD 254,921 related to value added taxes that has not been refunded by government” (…)”The implementers incurred ineligible payments amounting to USD 93,400. These related to payments for activities not included in the approved grant budget, or excess payments to service providers” (P: 19, 2016).
This here shows worrying signs as the Health Care and Global Funds is either not utilized or misused, understocked even when the NMS is supposed to have dozen of kits for instance. The amount of monies not allocated even when budget for. That is a normal issue for the Government of Uganda under the NRM-Regime.
Just like the condoms that was supposed to enter Uganda in 2011, arrived in 2013. That proves the ability of the government to stall the procurement even when they have donor-funding to get the necessities. One key issue is that health facilities are lacking the necessary medicines for the treatment of Tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and Malaria. The planning for securing the allocations is also lacking, therefore the planning and allocations is missing even when the funding from Global Funds is there, showing that the transactions between the Government of Uganda, National Medical Stores(NMS) and the International Companies who make the kits and medicine. Another factor is the longstanding time the health facilities are without needed medications and that should be worrying for the Ministry of Health.
The worst thing about this is that people who need the treatment have to wait for it or not get it in time as the health care facilities do not have it. That is the thing that worries me while reading through it, seeing the person who needs the care and medicine not getting it. So the Government of Uganda, Ministry of Health and National Medical Store (NMS) has a decent job to do. Especially since the matter of making procurement procedure and facilitate together with the different parts of governments organizations to deliver to the patient at a facility or the pharmacy. Peace.
The Global Fund – ‘Audit Report Global Fund Grants to the Republic of Uganda’ (26.02.2016) – Geneva, Switzerland.