Ronald Odyek, the dispenser/pharmacist of Nebbi General hospital in Nebbi district is in custody for allegedly stealing a significant amount of essential drugs worth millions of shillings.
Odyek was apprehended along with three others last week. Nebbi district police commander, Aminsi Kayondo said hat security officers were able to apprehend the suspects based on information provided by vigilant members of the public.
This development came after a bodaboda cyclist was caught with government drugs. During interrogation, the cyclist revealed that Odyek had instructed him to deliver the drugs to one of his customers, who operates a drug shop at Omeyer trading center in Nebbi sub-county.
Nebbi district LC V chairperson, Robert Urombi, disclosed that Odyek was previously been caught with another batch of stolen government drugs in August 2021 at a police checkpoint in Madi-Okollo district. The seized drugs were worth Shs 800,000.
Urombi added that during the 2021 incident, Odyek was apprehended along with his accomplices, including Jerry Ongiera, a nursing assistant at Akworo health facility in Akworo sub-county, and David Ocan, a records assistant at Nyaravur health center in Nyaravur-Angal town council, Nebbi district.
Urombi further revealed that they had pursued the case, even involving the anti-corruption authorities, but the court proceedings had not yet concluded. He expressed concern that despite facing charges, the suspects continued to work within the government system.
Nebbi district has experienced perennial drug shortages due to high demand from neighbouring districts such as Zombo, Madi Okollo, Pakwach, Buliisa, and even the Democratic Republic of Congo. Last year, there was a delay in drug supplies from the National Medical Store (NMS), causing great suffering among the vulnerable communities in the area.
The majority of people in West Nile heavily rely on government health facilities and the shortage of drugs often leads to a rise in fatalities, particularly within the farming communities. Meanwhile, Urombi called upon the government to strengthen the justice system, particularly in cases involving the theft of government drugs.