Drug shortage takes toll on patients

Some of the affected counties are Kericho, Kisumu and Busia.

Monday March 14 2016

Medicines displayed during the launch of Novartis Access in Kenya on October 15, 2015 at Kenyatta National Hospital. There is a drug shortage in hospitals in Kericho County. PHOTO | GERALD ANDERSON | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Medicines displayed during the launch of Novartis Access in Kenya on October 15, 2015 at Kenyatta National Hospital. There is a drug shortage in hospitals in Kericho County. PHOTO | GERALD ANDERSON | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By ANGELA OKETCH
More by this Author
By TIMOTHY KEMEI
More by this Author

An acute shortage of drugs and other essential supplies in public hospitals has brought misery to patients in various parts of the country.

Residents have asked county governments to address the crisis and ensure health institutions have adequate stocks of drugs.

They want patients to be saved from the current situation where they are buying even basic medicines at exorbitant prices from pharmacies.

Some of the affected counties are Kericho, Kisumu and Busia.

A spot check by the Nation at some of the hospitals in the counties cited showed that patients or relatives were paying more to get drugs.

Some of the patients said they will seek alternative treatment from herbalists.

Mr Robert Kipkorir, a Kericho resident, said he had experienced problems seeking treatment at the county referral hospital.

He said he had been asked by a nurse to go to a pharmacy to buy a piece of nylon string for use in the treatment of a wound on his arm. He sustained an injury during an accident.

“We are disappointed with the poor management of the health sector in Kericho. We call on our governor to do more to improve the situation. If counties cannot handle the management of the sector, the function should revert to the national government,” he said.

Mr Alhaji Abdullahi Kiptonui, a former councillor, told the Nation on Sunday that the consistent shortage of drugs at medical facilities across the county is worrying.

OUT OF STOCK
He appealed to Governor Paul Chepkwony to salvage the situation.

“Residents are suffering because there are no drugs in hospitals. The governor and those in charge of hospitals must know that the lives of the people of Kericho are in their hands, and should do more to correct the situation,” he said.

Their sentiments come two days after Kericho Senator-Elect Aaron Cheruiyot pledged to engage the county government over the perennial drug shortage.

When Ms Jael Lieta, a resident of Kisumu County, took her son to the Migosi Health Centre for a malaria test, she was told that the equipment was not working.

But she was later told by a man at the facility that the test could be conducted if she paid more.

“Normally, a malaria test is free for children and Sh50 for adults, but we were asked to pay Sh100,” she said.

Ms Beatrice Okello said she had challenges in getting her diabetes drugs, and was considering going to a herbalist.

“At public hospitals, they are very cheap, but they take time to come. Most of the diabetes and cancer drugs are not available at the hospitals,” she said.

Ms Okello normally buys her drugs at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital but currently they are not available, and her stock has run out.

advertisement