In Summary
  • Counties in the region owe Kemsa more than Sh300 million, which has seen some of them cut off drug supply
  • Kemsa has stopped supplying drugs to Taita-Taveta over the debt.
  • In Kwale, sources said the county is working on their Sh64.85 million debt accrued the last one month.

Major hospitals in the Coast have been hit by an acute shortage of drugs, putting thousands of lives at risk.

Counties in the region owe the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (Kemsa) more than Sh300 million, which has seen some of them cut off drug supply.

In total, 44 counties owe the agency Sh2.8 billion. Data compiled by the Nation shows that as at the end of September, Kilifi led with the highest debt of Sh140 million, followed by Taita-Taveta at Sh75.9 million, Kwale at Sh66.27 million and Lamu at Sh44.78 million.

DEBT

Mombasa had a debt of Sh15.14 million, while Tana River was the only county from the region that didn’t owe the drug agency any monies.

Kemsa has stopped supplying drugs to Taita-Taveta over the debt. Mission for Essential Drugs and Supplies and Lancet, which are owed Sh16.9 million and Sh48 million respectively, have also threatened to pull the plug.

Taita-Taveta’s huge debt has rendered it credit unworthy, meaning it’s unable to source drugs and other medical supplies on credit. As the shortage bites, patients are forced to dig deeper into their pockets to purchase drugs from private pharmacies.

The Nation has learnt that the last batch of drugs was supplied in May when the county ordered a consignment of Sh46 million.

Taita-Taveta assembly’s health committee chair Frank Mmare confirmed the county has been blacklisted by suppliers.

MISPLACED PRIORITIES

Page 1 of 2