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Joanita Namutebi Lwanyaga
Joint Medical Store (JMS) was established in 1979 as a joint venture of the Uganda Catholic Medical Bureau (UCMB) and the Uganda Protestant Medical Bureau (UPMB).
Although set up initially as a service unit for channeling relief supplies to health facilities belonging to the two bureaus, JMS over the years, gradually developed into a not-for-profit wholesale enterprise, procuring, storing and selling over 2000 products available ex-stock, including pharmaceuticals, medical and surgical sundries, equipment and instruments as well as laboratory supplies.
In the first decade the focus was on getting the medicines and supplies in and sending them out to facilities all over the country. However it was soon realized that as a result of the economic stagnation of the 70s and the liberation war of 1979, health facilities not only lacked basic essential supplies but they also had no functional equipment. In response to this need a Medical Equipment department was established in 1981.
The department was mandated to provide medical equipment, instruments and spares, installation, repair and maintenance as well as training on the repair of medical equipment.
10 years later, in 1991 the JMS Production unit was set up. At that time the cost of importing supplies was very high more so because Uganda is a landlocked country and most of the supplies were being airlifted.
More recently the range of services provided has been expanded to include Training and Advisory Services. Although the primary target for these services are the church health facilities, staff from Government, other NGO and FBO facilities also benefit. The services provided include from the quarterly publication of a Drug Information Bulletin, training in stock management and rational drug use, training in equipment repair and maintenance and a small drug information service.