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City Hospitals grappling with an acute drug shortage over a Sh309million debt to KEMSA

By Josphat Thiong'o | March 29th 2019

A medical agency has stopped supplying drugs to county health facilities over a debt owed to it by City Hall.

The Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) said yesterday it cut the supply over a Sh309 million debt that it is yet to recover.

This was revealed yesterday during a public health services committee inquiry on how city health facilities were fairing.

County Deputy Director for Medical Services Irene Muchoki told the committee that the finance department had not honoured an agreement where it was to pay Kemsa Sh30 million a month.

Kemsa, therefore, decided to cut the supply. “We are in a very tricky situation because in the current financial year, our hospitals have only received drugs once from Kemsa. The situation is really bad on the ground,” said Ms Muchoki.

According to Muchoki, her department received Sh747 million in the current financial year. Of this, only Sh70 million was used to repay the debt that has accrued since 2014.

A spot check by The Standard revealed that most of the city hospitals have been grappling with a drug shortage since September last year.

Most patients interviewed said they are usually asked to buy medicine from private pharmacies. Health committee chairperson Peter Warutere said his committee will ensure that the debt has been paid.

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