Drug shortage artificial, says Kwale Deputy Governor

The Kwale County government has blamed unscrupulous health workers for creating an artificial drug shortage in local public health facilities for their own selfish ends.

Deputy Governor Ms. Fatuma Achani said they had procured enough drugs and the issue of shortage should not arise.

The only conclusion we can make is that the shortage is deliberately generated with an ulterior motive and it must stop forthwith, said Ms. Achani promising tough action on any worker found culpable.

She said thorough investigations will be instituted into an alleged theft of government drugs and legal action taken against the culprits.

Ms. Achani was reacting to a public outcry over a syndicate involved in the theft of government drugs and other medical stores across the county.

She was addressing a meeting at Kombani, where angry residents claimed that health workers were diverting stolen drugs to their private clinics and pharmacies where patients are referred to for treatment.

It was further claimed that patients are always sent to particular chemists to buy medicine raising suspicions over the motive behind the move.

The health sector has been taking the lion’s share of the county budget and there is no justification for the persistent drug scarcity, according to the Deputy Governor.

The sector was allocated Sh3billion out of this financial year’s S2.2billion county budget.

Ms. Achani said Kwale was not among the counties which owe Sh2billion to the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) as it had cleared all its debts.

We are the only county that does not owe the medical supplies agency any debt and it is baffling and unacceptable to hear complaints of patients going without drugs, she added.

She, however, admitted that management of the supply of drugs still remains an issue that needs to be addressed more seriously.

There has been persistent public complaints over drug shortage but we are determined to find a lasting solution to the menace considering enormous public resources going to the health sector, said Ms. Achani.

She asked members of the public to help curb the theft of medicine by exposing those involved.

You should protest and even report for action, any health worker who refers you to private pharmacies to buy drugs because we have enough stocks, she said adding that delivery of quality health services is one of their top priorities.

Source: Kenya News Agency