Medical Ministry

Ministry | Uganda Mission Home

If you are going to be part of a medical team, I highly recommend you find someone who has done medical ministry in a third world setting and learn what you can from them.

Importation of Drugs & Medical Devices
The Ugandan National Drug Authority regulates the import, export and re-export of all drugs and medical supplies. In order to import or export drugs or medical supplies, you must be registered to do so. Pharmacists, doctors, and hospitals/clinics can register. Once registered, there are small fees for importing of drugs and medical supplies.

For medical teams needing a lot of medications, the best option is the Joint Medical Store in Kampala. This is a joint work of the Protestant and Catholic medical communities. They have all the credentials necessary to important medications and medical supplies. Teams should contact them well in advance of their mission to make necessary arrangements for supplies they will need.

The main obstacle is that you must submit the generic name, proprietary name, strength, package sizes, and quantities, manufacturer’s name and location and supplier for each item. This list must be approved by the National Drug Authority prior to importing the drugs or medical supplies. They will only approve medications or supplies that are on their list. All items must have an expiration date of at least one year beyond their entry or three-fourths of their useful shelf life remaining. There are exemptions for drugs and devices for personal use that are prescribed by a physician.

Any drug or device that is not on the approved or list requires a special exemption. This is especially troublesome for medical teams from the USA since most of the medications/supplies on their approved list come from Asia or Europe. Even the same medication manufactured in a different country is not acceptable but must receive an exemption. (Note: There is a specific form that must be used for this and we are seeking to get a copy that can be downloaded from this site).

The regulations requiring expiration dates and manufacturers have been tightened due to problem caused by well meaning people bringing in drugs and medicals supplies that were of poor quality and/or out of date.

The policies discussed above do not exclude taking things like band aides and a tube of generic Neosporin® but you do not want them to open your bags and find bottles and bottles of vitamins. In fact, you can buy vitamins for distribution upon arrival in Uganda. This is a good thing, as it keeps that much weight out of your checked bags. Also, Ugandan Pharmacies are everywhere and no prescription is necessary for most item so if a qualified member of your team determines a certain medication is needed, it will not be difficult to get except in very rural areas. But beware, counterfeit drugs are imported on the black market and you need to shop at a legitimate pharmacy.

A list of some basic health and hygiene information can be found in my benevolence ministry section.

Ministry | Uganda Mission Home