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Leaders raise concern over shortage of drugs

A section of leaders and patients in West Pokot County have raised concern over shortage of drugs in health facilities in the county.
Speaking to the press in Kapenguria on Tuesday,  area senator Mr. Samuel Poghisio observed that they have received several public outcry over insufficient drugs in most of the health facilities in the area pointing out that Level 3 and 4 hospitals are worst hit by the shortage.
Poghisio said patients were not getting adequate services from the facilities and instead were being referred to private pharmacies to buy drugs.
“Patients have to dig deeper into their pockets to get drugs from chemists. Most of the dispensaries in rural areas are faced with the severe shortage of drug,” he said.
Poghisio lamented that at the moment the county is grappling with high prevalence rate of malaria and lack of drugs might worsen the situation, mentioning the worst hit areas as Alale and Sigor and also lack of enough working personnel is also a big blow to the health sector.
“I have received complaints from a number of people, the county government should come out clearly and explain to the people why the county doesn’t have sufficient drugs. At the same time, areas like Alale and Sigor are faced with the shortage of staff,” he said.
Kapenguria MP Samuel Moroto supported the Senator complaints and asked the county government to look into the issue and purchase sufficient drugs that can last for a long time.
“We know that the county set aside funds to purchase drugs in every financial year and they should not allow patients to suffer. We should not burden the patients by forcing them to incur extra cost and yet there is money meant for that,” he said
Spot check by KNA at Kacheliba Level 4 and Kapenguria Level 5 hospitals discovered that patients complained that they are forced to incur costs by buying drugs in Makutano town in private pharmacies.
The patients said the situation is dire and needs urgent intervention before deaths are reported.
“There are no drugs here at Kapenguria Referral Hospital, I have been told to go and purchase drugs from a nearby chemist for my patient who is diagnosed with typhoid for her to be treated,” said Selina Chemaswet, a resident.
Medics who managed to speak raised concern, saying majority of patients are suffering due to shortage, saying many are too poor to buy expensive drugs from private pharmacies.
The CEC of health, Geoffrey Lipale said the Kenya Medical Supply Authority (Kemsa) is to be blamed for the shortage of drugs in the county, saying it introduced laws and rules before they supply drugs to any county which has been a stumbling block for restocking of drugs to counties.
He added that the MPs passed a law in parliament that make county governments to get their medical supply from Kemsa, saying any county buying drugs out of Kemsa will be subject to prosecution.
“We could have sourced from other suppliers but the law does not allow us as the only supply is given to Kemsa, but we are really trying our best to address the situation,” he said.
He said the law that was passed by the National Assembly put the county in an awkward situation, saying they have given their order to Kemsa but surprisingly the first order at Kemsa is Kenyatta National Hospital followed by others.
“West Pokot county order is number nine; we are waiting when our order will be supplied. The health docket was devolved and MPs should not have come up with laws that prevent the counties to access drugs in case of emergencies,” he said.
The last batch of drugs was supplied three months ago which costs the county Sh25 million.
By John Saina

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