18 December 2017

Kenya: Crisis - Tharaka-Nithi Public Hospitals Run Out of Medicine

Photo: Nation
A client buys medicine from a pharmacy in this file photo.

Patients in public health facilities in Tharaka-Nithi County have been forced to buy drugs in private pharmacies following an acute shortage of medicine.

Speaking to the Nation at the Chuka County Referral Hospital on Monday, Ms Mary Kageni, said she was contemplating transferring her sick brother to the nearby to PCEA Chogoria Hospital - a mission hospital - for better services.


"My brother was admitted at the facility two weeks ago after he was diagnosed with pneumonia but he only get painkillers," said Ms Kageni.

Mr Nicholas Mbugi, a resident of Gakurume Village in Tharaka, said his sick wife could not get even painkillers at Kibunga Sub-County Hospital forcing him to rush her to Mitunguu Hospital in the neighbouring Meru County.

The situation is the same in Tharaka and Magutuni sub-County hospitals and other public health facilities.


Speaking to journalists, Chuka County Referral Hospital deputy medical superintendent Dr Bedan Maina said the county last bought drugs in June and most of them were almost out of stock.

"We cannot say the hospital pharmacy is completely empty but most of drugs are out of stock because we received drugs last in the month of June," said Dr Maina.

Contacted, Health executive Gichua Nthuraku confirmed that the county had not procured drugs recently but was in the process of doing so.

He said that though there was a shortage of drugs, the situation was not severe as basic drugs are available.

"I am preparing an order of Sh33 million drugs and I hope once delivered, there will be enough drugs in our 84 public health facilities," said Dr Nthuraku.


In a press briefing at Marimanti Town early September, Governor Muthomi Njuki accused his predecessor Mr Samuel Ragwa of not accounting for Sh39 million drugs that was ordered in June from the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa).

Mr Njuki said no health facility in the county received drugs that were procured by the county and he vowed that he would not pay the Sh39 million debt to Kemsa.

"I will not pay the Kemsa debt that I have inherited unless the former government explains the whereabouts of the drugs procured," said Mr Njuki.


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