ZOMBO. Zombo district officials have recovered all government drugs which were stolen from Atyenda health center II in Zombo town council.

The drugs worth over shs12m went missing from the health facility store in January this year leading to the arrest of Mr Denis Ocwera, the in charge of the health facility and Mr Phillip Avaga Feni, an enrolled nurse attached to the health centre.

Dr Mark Bramali, the Zombo district health officer (DHO) confirmed the recovery of at least 8 boxes of coartem (anti malaria drugs) and 1 box of rapid diagnostic test (RDT) kits.

He said the relatives of the suspects procured the drugs from the National Medical Stores that delivered the consignment to the facility on Saturday morning under the watch of the district health officials.

Bramali said besides prosecution, the district authorities and the affected community wanted the stolen drugs replaced by the suspects so as to send a strong signal to other errant health workers.

"It is true we recovered the drugs and that is what we wanted because the affected community wanted their medicines,” Bramali said.

He added that the suspects' files have already been forwarded to the resident state attorney for legal action.

Bramali noted that the incident is an eye opener that calls for vigilance from the lower local government leaders, members of the community and health unit management committees that should ensure regular monitoring and meetings to counter misconducts that may affect the functionality of health facilities.

"We shall not tolerate any health worker who steals because theft is not part of our work ethics and we want this to stop,” he warned.

Mr Onesmus Kertho, a resident of Atyenda trading centre said the news of the recovery of the stolen drugs is of great relief to the people whom he said had suffered perpetual drug shortage at the health facility.

"We thought it was government not giving us enough drugs and yet these guys were hiding the medicines for themselves," Kertho said.

Ms Alice Anena, 40, said she lost her child to malaria late last year because there was acute drug shortage at the facility which according to her, could have been due to the rampant theft of drugs by the health workers attached to the health unit.

"God will never forgive these people, I lost my child here because there were no anti-malarial drugs since they were selling them away," she lamented.

According to Bramali, there are a series of reports of theft of government drugs by health workers which have not been investigated due to scanty evidence but warned that his office will do all it takes to wipe out the vice.