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Economy

Kemsa now shifts blame on theft, sale of HIV drugs

SULFRAN-DS 960MG TABLETS, RECOMMENDED FOR PEOPLE LIVING WITH HIV. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG
SULFRAN-DS 960MG TABLETS, RECOMMENDED FOR PEOPLE LIVING WITH HIV. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG  

The Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) has blamed two Kisumu hospitals for the theft and sale of donor-funded HIV medication.

Essential medicines, including antibiotics procured with the help of American aid agency USAid and meant for distribution by Kemsa for free, are some of the drugs that are illegally being sold in the market.

Kemsa acting chief executive Philip Omondi said the entire consignment of 4,776 packs of the Sulfran-DS was delivered to Kombewa Sub County Hospital (3,215) and Maseno Mission Hospital (1,561).

The sulfur-based antibiotic, mostly used to prevent opportunistic infections like pneumonia and urinary tract infections in patients whose immune systems have been compromised, is being sold at Sh120 per a pack of 100 tablets in Nairobi. This is despite bearing the “USAid/Kemsa Not for Resale” warning on every pack.

In Kenya as in many African countries, USAid runs a project that supplies the expensive medication to HIV patients at no cost.

Received in full

“According to the documents in Kemsa’s possession, the Co-trimoxazole Sulfran-DS tablets consignment was supplied to the door step of each facility and received in full by officers from the two facilities,” said Mr Omondi in a statement.

“Kemsa’s mandate ends at the point of delivery and receipt by the concerned health facilities. According to the delivery note returned to Kemsa the goods were received in full and signed for as per the set procedures for such supplies.”

Mr Omondi said the management of all medical supplies including those in question are handled through an automated Kemsa Logistics Management Information System (LMIS), which goes further to rationalise orders received from the counties to ensure efficiency in the supply chain.

“It is however, regrettable that despite supplying the medicines to the doorstep of every health facility, Kemsa has no control on how this medical commodities are dispensed at the facility,” he said.

The American agency has started a probe into the theft and promised to hold those responsible accountable.

 

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