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Drugs shortage hit Mombasa hospitals

A severe drug shortage has hit public hospitals in Mombasa county, with patients forced to buy essential medicine in private pharmacies. The county government has attributed the shortage to delays in procurement.

County communications director Richard Chacha said the county had already bought drugs and was in the process of distributing them.

“The medicine has already arrived and we are distributing to all health facilities,” he said.

For medicine to treat sexually-transmitted infections (STIs),  Chacha said, the county partners with donor organisations. “They also had some procurement hitch but we are sure we will get the stock,” he assured. 

A clinical officer attached at the Coast General Hospital said the facility has been operating without antibiotics, malaria and STI drugs for the last two months.

“The situation is alarming, whenever you come here seeking treatment, you are sent to buy medicine outside and bring them back to be administered,” said the officer, speaking on condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to speak on behalf of the hospital.

He said lack of STIs drugs  put at risk health of patients, who he said resorted to self-medication.

Patients at the hospital narrated their ordeal, saying buying drugs at private pharmacies was costly.

“After being diagnosed with malaria, I was referred  to buy medicine but I couldn’t afford it.  I bought some painkillers to ease the fever,” said a patient.

Health workers attributed the challenges to devolution of health services.

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