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Ministry distributes TB testing kits amid blame game

George Kebaso @Morarak

The Health ministry has started distributing kits for testing tuberculosis to hospitals experiencing deficit even as State agencies engaged in blame game over the shortage.

On Saturday, the ministry assured Kenyans of its commitment to ensure availability of adequate cartridges used for printing out results for TB patients.

“We will ensure patients do not experience disruption of services,” said Director of Medical Services  Jackson Kioko in a statement to newsrooms.

He said some counties with high TB cases reported limited stock of GeneXpert Cartridges, normally used as an advanced technology in TB diagnosis. This has seen patients wait longer to get test results.

However, government procurement, standards verification and supply agencies involved in the importation, clearance of cartridges used in GeneXpert technology, shifted blame over the shortage, with more than 200, 000 cartridges reportedly being held at the port.

Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) said it has nothing to do with the certification of the cartridges and directed inquiries to the Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB).

“Please contact Pharmacy and Poisons Board. They are responsible for clearance of the gadgets,” Kebs communications official Phoebe Gituku told People Daily.

PBB was not immediately available for comment.

On its part, Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (Kemsa) absolved itself from blame, saying procurement for the kits was done on time.  Kemsa ehief executive Jonah Mwangi said manufacturers were experiencing logistical challenges.

The shortage has forced health facilities to revert to microscopy testing, whose results takes longer than GeneXpert technology.

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