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Medical firm wants lower tax on medical equipment

High charges not good for business

In Summary

• The government can assist in lowering costs of access by relooking at the tax regime on pharmaceutical products

• Health systems that function well have certain shared characteristics.

Mission for Essential Drugs and Supplies (MEDS) managing director Jane Masiga (right) after signing a framework agreement for financing with George Mutiga (left) head of trade Finance at KCB Group, during the launch of the organisation’s medical equipment line in May 2019.
Mission for Essential Drugs and Supplies (MEDS) managing director Jane Masiga (right) after signing a framework agreement for financing with George Mutiga (left) head of trade Finance at KCB Group, during the launch of the organisation’s medical equipment line in May 2019.
Image: courtesy

High taxes on medical devices and equipment has increased cost of healthcare, causing major hindrance to the achievement of universal healthcare in the country, a health professional has said.

“Simple products like gloves are taxed yet they are very essential in the healthcare system,” Jane Masiga, MD of Mission for Essential Drugs and Supplies.

“The government can assist in lowering costs of access by relooking at the tax regime on pharmaceutical products.”

During the event, MEDS launched a new range of high-tech medical equipment that it hopes to supply to the local hospitals. Some of the medical equipment launched are dental units, LED theatre operating lights, baby rescuscitation equipment, haematology analyzers, anesthesia machine, and patient monitors.

Strengthening of health care systems will benefit the country by ensuring health for all and delivering Universal Health Coverage which is part of the government’s Big 4 agenda.

“Health systems that function well have certain shared characteristics,” she said. “They have procurement and distribution systems that deliver interventions to those in need. They are staffed with skilled workers and they operate with financing systems that are sustainable, inclusive, and fair.”

She said collaboration between suppliers, hospitals and financial institutions would have a greater impact on delivering quality and affordable healthcare services.

 “We are confident that these supplies and equipment will be used appropriately and that health services for members of the general public will be improved as a result.”

MEDS customers were awarded by volume of purchases the organisation made in 2018. Mater Misericordiae Hospital which purchased supplies worth Sh237, 208, 244 took the first award.