Health official arrested for stealing drugs

Police have arrested a medical official of Kigogo Health Centre in Gicumbi District for allegedly stealing HIV/AIDS medicine and selling it to unauthorized dealers. Eric Mugabo, who works in the laboratory at the health centre, was arrested on Tuesday in Kigali with some of the medicine he was transporting to his customers.
ARRESTED; Eric Mugabo holding some of the stolen HIV screening tests’ kits(Courtesy photo)
ARRESTED; Eric Mugabo holding some of the stolen HIV screening tests’ kits(Courtesy photo)

Police have arrested a medical official of Kigogo Health Centre in Gicumbi District for allegedly stealing HIV/AIDS medicine and selling it to unauthorized dealers.

Eric Mugabo, who works in the laboratory at the health centre, was arrested on Tuesday in Kigali with some of the medicine he was transporting to his customers.

Mugabo who has been working at the health centre since 2007 was the only authorized medical personnel at the centre to acquire drugs from The Rwanda Drug, Consumables and Equipment Central Procurement Agency (CAMERWA).

He is, however, alleged to have been diverting some of the medicine and selling it to some pharmacies and clinics which are not authorized to sell such medicines.
Pharmarcies need to be accredited by the national centre for infectious diseases control and prevention, TRAC Plus, to sell HIV/AIDS drugs.

At the time of his arrest, Mugabo was found with boxes of SD-Bioline, Rapid HIV card test, QBC and HEMOCUE, all which are HIV screening tests.

Police Spokesperson, Supt. Eric Kayiranga confirmed the arrest saying they carried out investigations after finding out that government drugs that are supposed to be given out freely were being sold by some unauthorized dealers.

“With this information, we carried out investigations and actually some confirmed that Mugabo was the suppliers.
Mugabo who was by yesterday still at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) headquarters in Kacyiru, however, said that he got the medicine from someone (name withheld) who, he said, smuggled them from Burundi.

However, Eric Nyiligira, the Acting Director General of CAMERWA dismissed Mugabo’s claims and said that the medical equipment carried the agency’s markings.
“All drugs from our stores are marked and these boxes have the same mark,” Nyiligira said, adding that together with the police, investigations will continue to see if CAMERWA employees are involved.

Nyiligira, who warned dealers from buying unauthorized and smuggled drugs, reassured that the theft has no impact on the supply of AIDS screening tests.

This is the second time drugs from the national drugs’ store are being stolen. In 2008, two CAMERWA employees were arrested and sentenced for stealing and selling drugs from the store.

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