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Economy

Counties claim Kemsa malaria diagnosis kit faulty

Malaria testing.
Malaria testing. Malaria is the second biggest cause of illness in Kenya. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Governors have locked horns with the State’s drugs agency over supply of faulty microscopes for malaria diagnosis in the last financial year.

Through their lobby, the Council of Governors, the county chiefs said a number of microscopes procured by the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) under the national malaria programme in 2017/18 are not functional.

They have since written a letter to all health County Executives asking them to provide status “following widespread complaints over the microscopes’ quality”.

Kemsa has acknowledge receiving complaints from the counties but maintains the devolved units raised their quality concerns after expiry of the warranty period.

“The complaints were received after the expiry of the one-year warranty period. Some of the complaints were resolved by the biomedical technologists in the facilities,” Kemsa said in a statement.

Under the Global Fund and the National Treasury agreement, Kemsa distributed close to 700 microscopes to the 47 counties.

Waqo Ejersa, the Head National Malaria Control Programme at the Ministry of Health (MoH) said cases of faulty microscopes are yet to be verified.

“The quality of microscopes which were expected to boost diagnostic capacity in the counties play a big role in the fight against malaria however we need to get to the bottom of these reports before we can decide on the next course of action,” he said.

He said that a team has been sent to all the counties to assist with inspection of the machines whose warranties have elapsed.

In December 2017, the Global Fund and health partners in Kenya signed six grant agreements worth $380 million, to strengthen the response to HIV, tuberculosis and malaria. The grants aim to reach 1.3 million people with antiretroviral therapy by 2021, and drastically expand interventions to find more missing cases of TB, among other objectives.

The Economic Survey 2018 lists malaria as the second biggest cause of illness in Kenya after diseases of the respiratory system and the country relies heavily on financial assistance.

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