The Council of Governors (CoG) yesterday encouraged the Ministry of Health to put in place robust systems to prevent medical supply theft.
Speaking at CoG’s headquarters in Nairobi, CoG’s Health Committee head, Kisumu governor Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o criticised reports of theft of crucial cancer drugs at the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH), saying such activities deprive patients of life-saving therapy.
“CoG’s attention is drawn to recent reports in the media on massive theft of cancer drugs of over Sh4.6 million at our premier national teaching and referral hospital, KNH.
These reports are suggestive of well-orchestrated efforts to deny citizens their realisation of right to health, primarily by people entrusted with a duty of care. These incidents are unfortunate and most disheartening,” said Nyong’o.
According to him, the acts hinder national and local government efforts to improve the healthcare industry.
Private wings, the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and cancer units were all highlighted by the governors as important sources of medicine theft.
Medicines are also missing in transit from pharmacies and stores to the wards, according to the report, and a syndicate involving porters, security and healthcare employees has been uncovered.
“Patients are denied care due to evil practices by health personnel who have been sworn to essentially discharge their duties. In the meantime, the culprits have not been punished,” said the governor.
Potential for conflict of interest, he encouraged the Ministry of Health to upgrade the supply chain infrastructure and information systems to enable end-to-end visibility of all drug use in hospitals.
The governors also want the Ministry to guarantee that people in charge of the cancer unit at KNH and private hospitals have no conflicts of interest, following claims that stolen pharmaceuticals have found their way into premises held by a top official at the KNH Cancer Unit.
“The health and economic burden attributable to cancer in Kenya is enormous. Families have been driven into poverty from high out-of-pocket payments for healthcare especially for cancer.
Standard courses of treatment for most common cancers in Kenya remain out of reach for most Kenyans,” said Nyong’o.
In terms of finances, Governor Nyong’o stated that counties had been granted Sh39.9 billion as additional monies for the current Financial Year, but that no County Government had received the money as of yet, despite the fact that the financial year was only one month old.
He voiced concern that some national government ministries, departments, and agencies in charge of various conditional grants have lowered the sums scheduled to be granted to counties in this fiscal year downwards to around Sh24 billion.
“We implore the National Treasury to transfer Sh39.9 billion owed to counties without undue delay and undeducted as articulated in the County Governments Additional Allocations Act, 2022 to ensure that counties implement their budgets and plan accordingly,” the CoG said.
On the equitable division of funds, he stated that only 17 counties had received allocations from the previous month. 30 counties have yet to get their April allocations, while all 47 counties have yet to receive their May allocations, owing them a total of Sh53.9 billion in arrears.
National Treasury had released 77 percent of the overall allocation for the financial year 2021/22 with only four weeks remaining, according to the CoG, bringing the outstanding balances to Sh83.5 billion, or 23 per cent of the total allocation.