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Sh130m drugs vanish in Kakamega, leading to dire shortage

Just over a month after Governor Fernandes Barasa launched the distribution of Sh130 million worth of drugs and non-pharmaceuticals to public hospitals in Kakamega County, a dire shortage of supplies has hit the facilities.

Members of the County Assembly (MCAs) have raised concerns over the unavailability of medicine, despite Mr Barasa warning health officials against diverting them to private pharmacies.

The shortage of drugs and other essential supplies is causing misery for patients who are now forced to buy them from private chemists.

This has prompted questions from the MCAs who wonder why this is happening when the county government procured the drugs from the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) in January.

During a public participation forum at Musamba shopping center, Khalaba ward MCA Boniface Osanga raised concerns about the lack of drugs at Khalaba health center in his ward.

Patients were being asked to buy the medicines from private chemists, even though the governor launched a large consignment of drugs two months ago.

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A spot check by Sunday Nation has revealed that the shortage of drugs is affecting most sub-county hospitals.

Chekalini ward MCA Titus Kwoma has blamed health staff in the county for the loss of drugs in public hospitals. According to him, the county government provided enough drugs to cater to patients, but health staff are sabotaging the program by not releasing all the drugs to the patients as required.

Governor Barasa had earlier invited the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to probe and uncover what he termed as a syndicate of massive theft of drugs at the county teaching and referral hospital.

The governor warned health officials sternly against attempts to divert drugs from public hospitals to private pharmacies.

The mystery surrounding the disappearance of the Sh130 million worth of drugs is yet to be resolved, and patients continue to suffer due to the shortage of essential medicines.

The County Assembly has been urged to play its oversight role diligently in ensuring that drugs are not lost or diverted from public hospitals.

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