KENYA:285 million debt to KEMSA to blame for lack of drugs at City Hospitals

December 2017 Standardmedia; If you go to a county hospital today, chances are high you will be referred to a private pharmacy for your medication.

A shortage of drugs has hit medical facilities across Naibobi as a result of a Sh285 million debt the county government owes the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa).

For close to a year, city clinics have been grappling with drugs shortage after Kemsa withdrew its services over the debt.

Health Executive Hitan Majevda said the debt has accrued since 2014.

Talks ongoing

“It is no secret that hospitals have no drugs… I have been in talks with Kemsa over the issue since I took over,” stated the health boss.

Consequently, patients have had to incur extra costs after treatment since they are forced to buy drugs from mostly pharmacies outside the county hospitals.

This is not only costly to the patients with no medical cover, but also an inconvenience to most residents who live below the poverty line.

Majevda, however, revealed that the county is in negotiations with Kemsa to restock the hospitals.

He said they were working on a supply and payment plan with the authority, which would see the county offset part of its debt to mitigate patients’ suffering.

He explained that money meant for the purchase of drugs was held at Treasury and payments would be made once the funds were released.

“I have engaged Kemsa and they have agreed to supply us with the drugs even before we pay. It is very shameful for the city not to have drugs,” observed Majevda.

According to Majevda, the other option would be to get a donor who would help clear the county’s debt.

According to Majevda, the Kidero-led regime had entered into an agreement with Kemsa on how to offset the debt, but this was not honoured. The health docket was headed by Benard Muia then.

The former administration had made a commitment to pay Sh10 million every week to Kemsa until the debt was cleared, but this did not happen.

Ease congestion

The health executive pointed out that the previous government ordered excess drugs, which could have exposed them to theft and misuse.

He intends to restrict orders to one week for efficiency.

“I want to control the purchase of drugs and restrict the tender to only Kemsa. They are ready to deliver within 24 hours across all the county health facilities,” he added.

Notably, the Ministry of Health under CS Cleopa Mailu last year vowed to improve county health facilities so as to ease congestion at Kenyatta National Hospital.

Governor Mike Sonko made a campaign pledge to stock all county hospitals with drugs after he assumed power.



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