City hospitals battling drugs shortage as Sonko donates food in West Pokot
By Collins Omulo
The capital city is staring at a health crisis after it emerged that health facilities have been operating without drugs for more than six months now.
The County Assembly Health committee were left shocked after being told that city hospitals last received drugs in August last year.
Deputy Director of Medical Services Dr Irene Muchoki admitted that city residents may soon be forced to seek medical care in private facilities.
“The situation is tricky because so far our county hospitals only received drugs once in this financial year and that was last year in August. The issue is wanting and the public has been crying,” said Dr Muchoki.
The revelations of drug shortage in the city coincide with Governor Mike Sonko tour in drought stricken West Pokot county where he has been distributing relief food.
City Hall owes Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) Sh309 million in outstanding debt for medicine supplied as far back as 2014.
The deadlock between the state agency and the county has led to the former in several instances failing to supply drugs to the county health facilities.
The Authority has an agreement with counties to make payments within 45 days after delivery and Nairobi is among the blacklisted counties for defaulting.
Interestingly, in the current financial year, the county government set aside Sh747 million for health but only Sh70 million has been used to offset the debt.
“We have used Sh70 million from the amount we had set aside to pay Kemsa and that was when drugs were delivered to the health facilities in August. The remaining Sh677m has not been spent,” she said.
The committee chairperson Peter Warutere said that the assembly and executive will work together to ensure that the debt is paid off.
“We are working on the payment formula so that the availability can be guaranteed to check on the erratic deliveries,” said the Roysambu MCA.