, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 28 – The government has denied claims of a drugs shortage in public health facilities and said it had not received any reports indicating otherwise.
This followed a claim by medical professionals on Tuesday that the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (KEMSA) had failed to supply drugs to hospitals.
“The government allocates funds for drugs and other medical commodities for all health facilities,” Medical Services Minister Anyang’ Nyong’o said in a statement.
He said the government had ensured that there were enough essential drugs and non-pharmaceuticals in the health facilities.
The minister added that each public health facility had drawing rights from KEMSA every three months and any shortage was supplemented through facility improvement funds because of government budgetary constraints.
“The health sector faces many challenges which include a dilapidated infrastructure and human resource shortages. A taskforce has been set up under the Prime Minister’s office to address all issues that ail the health sector and make recommendations on the way forward,” he said.
He emphasised that there were ongoing efforts to improve facilities, recruit and retain more staff and engagement in public- private partnership to ensure a vibrant health sector.
This, he reiterated, would require an extra Sh85 billion over a period of five years to realise reasonable changes in the health sector.
“This is a journey we have begun and we need the support of every Kenyan in order to succeed,” Nyong’o said.
On Tuesday, intern doctors led by the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentist Union took to the streets demanding employment and consistent supply of drugs to public health facilities.
They also demanded that the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency be subjected to a parliamentary probe for failing to supply essential medicines and non-pharmaceuticals.
“Reports coming from our hospitals indicate that many hospitals are operating without insulin, many hospitals do not have IV (Intravenous) fluids and frequently when KEMSA supplies anything to the hospitals it is usually ethanol and this is not right,” the Union’s Secretary General Boniface Chitayi had said.