NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 17-Nairobi residents are now complaining for being referred to private pharmacies to get prescription medicines after it emerged that County hospitals have not had drugs since last year over a debt the County government owes the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA).
Capital FM News on Tuesday conducted a fact finding mission at Mbagathi hospital and interviewed patients who complained that they are forced to incur extra costs to buy drugs from costly pharmacies outside the county hospitals.
Douglas Mutua a casual laborer at a firm along Mombasa Road lamented how he had to borrow money to buy drugs for his wife who was admitted to the facility.
“My wife gave birth through a C-section on Monday and I have been forced to purchase the required drugs from outside since there are no drugs here and I haven’t bought all of them because they are really expensive,” said Mutua.
This was the same experience as Mary Wairimu who had been diagnosed with stomach infection and couldn’t get the dosage at the facility therefore she had to dig deeper into her pockets and purchase the drugs in a private pharmacy at a costly price.
The account given by Mutua and Wairimu is just a sample of, a situation most Nairobi residents who live below the poverty line experience on a daily basis.
Most residents have been avoiding County facilities due to lack of drugs with some seeking treatment at Kenyatta National Hospital, a national referral facility causing congestion.
Responding to the cries, Nairobi Health Executive Hitan Majevda agreed that indeed there is shortage of drugs in County Hospitals but said talks are ongoing with KEMSA to find a solution and ensure residents get drugs.
“It’s true that there are no drugs in our County facilities but I am in talks with KEMSA so that we can come up with a repayment plan so that they can restock our hospitals as soon as possible,” said Majevda.
Shortage of drugs has hit Nairobi medical facilities for close to a year now as a result of a Sh285 million debt that saw KEMSA withdraw supplying drugs over the debt.
Majevda said they inherited the debt which has accrued since 2014 before the new administration came into place last year.
He added that in the last financial year the County settled Sh51 million and now the balance stands at Sh230 million.