EDITORIAL: Drugs distribution hitches should be history by now

The management of medical supplies has always been a blot on an otherwise impeccable track record of the medical sector.

With a near-perfect universal medical insurance coverage that is but a dream to many developing countries, Rwanda is still going through a gestation period to create a seamless medical supply chain.

Trouble began brewing when the former government parastatal charged with purchasing and distributing of drugs, CAMERWA, struggled to put its house in order.

It had been riddled with astronomical losses for years because of drugs expiring in its warehouse. That issue pointed to gross mismanagement of stock by not knowing what medicines to prioritise.

Today the Medical Procurement, Production and Distribution Department (MPPD) has taken over the reins but they are owed billions by district pharmacies who have not been paid by hospitals for drugs supplied because Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB) has not honoured its medical insurance obligations.

In short, it is a whole potpourri of amalgamated problems that can only be streamlined by reorganising the whole distribution and compensation chain. Teething problems are bound to arise when one embarks on new avenues, but those can only be solved by perseverance and quick intervention to deal with hurdles on the way.

Now that MPPD is being decentralised from Rwanda Biomedical Centre, it is hoped that the issue of drugs management will become history and will not come to impede on the smooth provision of medical care.