Doctors have raised alarm over persistent and critical shortages of essential medical supplies in public hospitals across the country. Addressing journalists on Monday, August 21, KMPDU Secretary General Davji Atella said medics are now being forced to work long hours without annual leaves.

The Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union has noted with concern that scarcity of vital medical equipment, drugs and supplies has reached a dire point that is greatly hampering service delivery in healthcare facilities across the country.

They now want the government to move with speed to rectify the situation which they say puts the lives of patients at risk as they are unable to access timely and quality healthcare services they deserve. According to Atellah, the situation is so dire that medics have been left with no choice but to postpone vital surgeries.

“Patients have had to endure a long wait before being attended to by an overworked, underpaid and ill motivated health workforce,” said  Davji.

He added; “Vital surgeries are postponed, diagnoses are delayed, and healthcare workers are forced into unthinkable situations where they must choose between who receives limited supplies and who goes without.”

Last week, health CS Susan Nakhumicha said as part of the reforms at Kemsa, the focus will be on the fill rate adding that an advertisement for commodities and supplies had been placed.

Last month, Kemsa acting CEO Mulwa pledged to improve the order fill rate of Essential Medicines and Technologies including tracer commodities, which are critical in providing health care service delivery in health facilities across the country.

Mulwa noted that delays in restocking essential health products and technologies have been occasioned by Kemsa’s inability to pay suppliers on time owing to cash flow challenges. He appealed to the counties to make good their payment promises by clearing all outstanding debts currently standing at Sh3 billion. “This will allow the authority to pay its suppliers on time and restock the essential Health Products and Technologies,” he said

By Chemok Abigael