President Kenyatta rescues debt-stricken coastal hospitals

The Kilifi county refferal hospital. PHOTO COURTESY

President Uhuru Kenyatta has come to the aid of debt-stricken hospitals in the region that have over the past six months in some instances been forced to operate without drugs and essential medical supplies.

This is after he directed the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency(KEMSA) to waive their debts for three months so as to enable them to buy masks and personal protective equipment for their medical workers.

The medical supplier has in the past been engaged in a push and pull with county governments in the region who owe them huge debts with patients bearing the brunt of the push and pull fiasco with many of them being forced to buy drugs from private pharmacies.

According to data from the agency, Kilifi county is leading as the coastal county with the largest debt at the agency which had hit sh 200 million as of February 2020.

Taita Taveta comes second at 60.2 million while Lamu comes in third at sh 44.7 million.

The Kilifi county referral hospital has in many instances been forced to refer patients to purchase medical drugs from private suppliers.

In 2018, the hospital halted the testing of pregnancy and HIV/Aids for three months over the lack of testing reagents.

Stock-outs cripple laboratory services at Kilifi County referral hospital

Last year, Taita Taveta County was blacklisted over its debt forcing health officials to turn to private suppliers.

Last month, parliament amended the KEMSA law barring counties from purchasing drugs from private suppliers.

This comes just as nine more people tested positive for COVID-19 bringing the total number of people who have tested positive to 234.

He said that the country has so far lost 11 persons to Coronavirus while 53 persons have so far turned negative and discharged from hospital

According to the president, nearly 1000 people are still in quarantine with 256 being in isolation centers.

The president further said that the government will support counties with sh. five billion in order to fight the pandemic by supplementing their already generated funds to cushion vulnerable people and health workers.

The pandemic had sent shockwaves among hospital staff over the refusal of the body to supply medical supplies.