Joint Medical Stores (JMS), a church-based non-government organization became the first beneficiary of Standard Chartered Bank Group’s $1 billion (about Shs 3.8 trillion) financing commitment to help companies tackling Covid-19.
According to a statement released by the bank on Wednesday, JMS received $2.2m (about Shs 8.4 billion) to stock up medical materials provide such as masks, sanitisers and medicines that can be used in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The loan is a drawdown from the $1 billion facility that was announced on March 30 to provide financing on a not-for-profit basis to companies making products and services that help the front line fight the virus and its impacts.
It also targets those planning the switch into making products that are in high demand to fight the global pandemic, the bank said.
The bank said that it had received a strong response from clients around the world and there are several disbursals nearing fruition.
“Our priority is to help get much-needed products and services to the front line and we’re extremely proud to start rolling out the financing on this programme with Joint Medical Store. Africa is a very important part of our Group strategy and I’m particularly pleased that we’re able to use our network there to make an impact in the fight against Covid-19,” said Simon Cooper, CEO of Corporate and Institutional Banking at Standard Chartered Bank.
Dr. Baguma Bildard, the JMS executive director, said, despite their 40-year experience in providing drugs to government, NGO, and private health care facilities, the Covid-19 outbreak had overwhelmed their capacity.
“The Covid- 19 pandemic has increased the urgency for provision for medical supplies in the country… It has disrupted and stressed the supply chain and our suppliers cannot keep the previously long-term credit arrangements and meet our increased demand. The facility will go a long way in enabling us to meet the high and urgent demand for PPE,” Baguma said.
JMS was formed in 1979 by the Uganda Catholic Medical Bureau and the Uganda Protestant Medical Bureau. It operates as a non-profit organization that procures, stores and distributes human medication and related healthcare equipment and supplies to the hospitals and health facilities in the private-not-for-profit health facilities.