COUNTY RESPONDS

Patients decry shortage of drugs in Turkana

Lucy Ekuwom, a resident of Lodwar, said services at the hospital are poor and it’s hard for a patient to access prescribed drugs.

In Summary

• County director for medical supplies Epem Esekon said they have put in place measures to ensure no drugs are out of stock.

• Esekon said drugs theft cases by health workers were sorted out through the introduction of the new system.

Turkana county Executive for Health and Sanitation Jane Ajele addresses Journalists at Lodwar
Turkana county Executive for Health and Sanitation Jane Ajele addresses Journalists at Lodwar
Image: Hesborn Etyang

Lodwar residents have decried shortage of drugs at health centres despite Turkana county government recently spending Sh22 million on drugs and medical supplies.

They claimed whenever they take patients for treatment at Lodwar County Referral Hospital, they are directed to buy drugs at certain pharmacies in town.

In March, Turkana health workers were warned against stealing and selling drugs at Lodwar County Referral Hospital. 

Lucy Ekuwom, a resident of Lodwar, said services at the hospital are poor and it’s hard for a patient to access prescribed drugs.

“Why do health facilities in Turkana lack drugs? Lodwar County Referral Hospital should be investigated to find out where drugs usually go. The county government is spending a lot of money on drugs and medical supplies but the community can not feel the impact and the services,” she said.

Ekuwom said she was directed to buy drugs at a certain pharmacy in town.

Isaac Lokong, a resident of Lodwar, said the health facilities that are supposed to help people, are in a big mess because even cheap drugs and pain killers cannot be accessed.

“A drug like diclofenac, which relieves pain, cannot be easily found at Lodwar County Referral Hospital, what about other health centres in Turkana? The county government should seriously take the concerns of residents on claims of a shortage of drugs and take the correct measures,” Lokong said. 

County director for medical supplies Epem Esekon said they have put in place measures to ensure no drugs are out of stock.

“There are measures we have put in place to improve our services at the health facilities. We have introduced a mobile number where patients can be able to call and find out whether the drug prescribed is not there,” Esekon said.

He urged residents and patients to specify drugs that are missing so that they can easily tell drugs that are available.

“We have a system that can show all health facilities in the county and note which drugs are there, quantity and even the cost. We are noting all complaints from residents and we will soon do a follow up so that we can improve the status of our facilities,” he said.

Esekon said drugs theft cases by health workers were sorted out through the introduction of the new system.