Stolen GoK drugs found in private clinics in Machakos

Wednesday March 18 2020
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Some of the GoK drugs that were found at a private clinic in Machakos on February 7, 2019. PHOTO | STEPHEN MUTHINI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By STEPHEN MUTHINI

Drugs and laboratory equipment belonging to the government have been found at private clinics in Machakos County.

The discovery was made on Thursday in a raid conducted by Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua and Directorate of Criminal Investigations head, Machakos County, Rhoda Kanyi.

Four people working in two clinics opposite Machakos Level 5 Hospital were arrested during the raid.

At Lugpharm Clinic, theatre equipment and drugs labelled "GoK" were found with the owner unable to explain how the items had found their way into the facility.

The clinical officer was also not qualified to practice.

At an adjacent clinic, the owner quickly closed the door, locking in some patients, but was arrested as he tried to escape.

Mr Stephen Mutisya, a patient from Makueni County who was one of those locked in by the fleeing medics, said he had gone to Machakos Level 5 Hospital for a blood test but was referred to the clinic.

He said he had paid Sh3,600 for the test.

"I was at Level 5 and they said they did not have the equipment. They referred me to this clinic," he said.

Another elderly man at Lugpharm Clinic said he had paid Sh6,000 for lab tests and was waiting for the results when Dr Mutua and DCI officers struck.

Their tales pointed to a well-coordinated corruption syndicate where doctors in government hospitals refer patients to private clinics and pharmacies with equipment and drugs stolen from the public.

Most drugs and lab services in counties that have implemented Universal Health Coverage are free and such medics seek to benefit from services funded by the taxpayer.

DCI suspects such clinics and chemists, which sell services that should essentially be free, are spread across the country.

Dr Mutua told the stranded patients to go home as the clinics would be closed.

He then proceeded to Machakos Level 5 Hospital where he inspected the laboratory and promised to take action on any government official found to have been colluding with those stealing drugs and hospital equipment.

"We have found X-Ray equipment from Level 5 Hospital and government drugs in a private clinic and people claim that Universal Health Care doesn't work because there are no drugs," he said.

He directed that henceforth, no patient should be referred to a private clinic from a government hospital.

He said the government had been providing the necessary supplies to the hospitals but the supplies were being stolen and diverted.

He warned that the government will not spare anyone found culpable of the vice.