Nairobi County government Health department has come under fire for letting county hospitals to stock expired drugs and non-pharmaceuticals.
This revelation is contained in a report by comes after Nairobi County Assembly Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
According to the report, Mbagathi County Hospital - one of the four major county hospitals - was holding expired drugs and pharmaceutical items amounting to over Sh1.4 million.
This is as even the hospital's management could not explain reasons for the expiry of the drugs which according to the committee, most were supplied by the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (Kemsa).
"It was not clear whether the items were acquired following user requests and procurement plans. The hospital's pharmaceutical department and stores also had expired drugs and pharmaceutical items amounting to Sh1, 410, 826," read the report.
The report is based on the committee's consideration of the Auditor General's report on the financial statements of Nairobi City County for the year ended June 30, 2017.
The county hospitals criticized for not having a structured and predictable way of procuring drugs but relying on the department to supply the drugs.
RISK TO PATIENTS
"Procurement of drugs that are likely to expire in a short while leads to loss of public resources and in some instances, if used, exposes risks to patients in public hospitals."
Among the expired drugs include paracetamol, antacids, dental catridges, hydrogen peroxide, ranitidine injection, suxamethonium, ceftazidine, furosemide injection, lignocaine, promethazine and heavy bupivacaine.
Others are levothyroxine, bisacodyl, bupicaine heavy, rocephine, dextrose, x-pen, gabapentin, amlodipine, darrows, phenytoin injection and amitryptilline.
The facility was also faulted for being oversupplied with almost expiring drugs with the committee noting that the hospital had too much non-pharmaceutical items worth over Sh3 million with most nearing expiry period.
In their response, however, the county executive blamed having the expired drugs and non-pharmaceuticals on the prolonged doctors' strike that occurred from December, 2016 to March 2017 as well as nurses' strike that followed from June, 2017 all through to November same year.
"The consumption of medication and pharmaceutical items was very low because most of drugs and pharmaceutical items that expired are normally utilized in the in-patient and at that time we did not have patients admitted in the wards," said the executive in their submissions.
The Mabatini Ward MCA Wilfred Odalo-led committee also raised issues with Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital where it emerged that the facility's management could not account for drugs worth Sh148, 890 as stock control cards had no matching entry with physical stock count.
"In the circumstances, it has not been possible to confirm that the drugs were received at the intended pharmacies and applied for the intended purposes," stated the report.
In view of the above matters, the committee called on the county to develop a policy guiding the procurement and supply of drugs to county hospitals to eliminate ambiguities that lead to supply of unnecessary and expired drugs.
The hospitals should also first determine the expiry date of drugs before accepting any supply from any supplier.