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US medics want tax on medical supplies waived

Health & Science
 Ms Millicent Mucheru (right), the founder of Medical Missions Kenya and Hunger Relief, a USA-based charitable organisation which offers free medical care to pastoralist communities tests a girl (16) during a free medical camp at Kimanjo Sub-district Hospital in Laikipia North. The camp cost about Sh6 million. PHOTO: JOB WERU/STANDARD

Medical volunteers from the US have criticized the Government for imposing tax on their supplies.

The medics said the equipment and supplies, which they had bought to distribute to patients during free medical camps in Laikipia, had been subjected to heavy taxation.

The volunteers, who are in the country under the umbrella organisation, Medical Missions Kenya & Hunger Relief, said they been forced to pay about Sh5,000 each despite having spent a fortune on drugs and equipment back home.

Head of the delegation and also the organisation's founder Millicent Mucheru said the taxation was a huge drawback to the free medical camps, since medics will fear acquiring quality supplies and equipment to avoid taxation.

"We would like the Government to intervene and ensure we are not forced to pay extra money as taxes for the medical supplies and equipment we come with since they are meant to help needy patients who cannot access quality medical care," said Ms Mucheru.

Mucheru and a team of 11 medical personnel and volunteers are in the country conducting free medical camps in Kimanjo in Laikipia North sub-county and in Narok.

She observed the extra taxation risks discouraging volunteering medics from acquiring sufficient drugs and equipment from their country.

"We raise money personally and retreat to far-flung villages, especially in pastoralist areas where there are no enough medical facilities and treat the people for free. We are calling on the Government to consider waiving taxes on the supplies we come with, since after treatment, we leave the supplies at local hospitals," she said.

She was speaking in Kimanjo Sub-County Hospital, where more than 200 people were treated for various illnesses. The medics raised the alarm over the high prevalence of hygiene-related diseases in Laikipia North sub-county.

At least two hospitals that serve the region have registered an upsurge in cases of respiratory and skin diseases.

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