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Uasin Gishu county probe unearths cause of drug shortages

RIFT VALLEY
By Silah Koskei | October 11th 2016
Uasin Gishu county assembly had formed an Ad hoc committee to investigate endless shortage of drugs in the county’s health facilities after residents expressed concerns.PHOTO: COURTESY

A team probing perennial drug shortages in a county’s health facilities has tabled its report.

Uasin Gishu county assembly had formed an Ad hoc committee to investigate endless shortage of drugs in the county’s health facilities after residents expressed concerns.

A number of patients have been seeking treatment in neighbouring counties. This prompted the assembly to constitute a team to conduct investigations into the sector.

The team now says the current Sh180 million budget allocation for drugs was inadequate to buy enough drugs to cater for a rapidly growing population of 1.1 million.

PERENNIAL SHORTAGE

The member in charge of health, Margaret Chepkwony, said she had requisitioned for additional drugs worth Sh97 million to cushion health facilities until February next year.

“Uasin Gishu compared to other counties is large and deserves to have an allocation of more than Sh600 million worth of drugs if we are to counter the current challenge,” she said.

This, coupled with poor mode of delivering drugs to health facilities, the probe team said, has contributed to the perennial shortage.

“Drugs are not delivered directly to the facilities as expected but instead through sub-county stores. Similarly, there are no well-equipped laboratories with modern machines in most of the facilities, a few lack re-agents and personnel,” the committee said.

The 21-member team also raised concerns over lack of transport to distribute drugs in the county.

“There is only one pick-up to distribute drugs, which is part of the challenge especially during rainy seasons. The staff is also demoralised due to heavy workload and overdue promotions,” they said.

The committee observed that lack of power supply in most facilities was likely to affect storage of drugs susceptible to temperature changes. Concerns were also raised on the accumulated debt owed by the county to the drug suppliers.

The team recommended the establishment of a county drug store and closer liaison with the Kenya Medical Supply Authority to ensure prompt supplies.

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