Busia denies food shortage at County Referral Hospital

Rumours that patients had gone for two weeks without food

In Summary

• The county government will ensure food stocks at the referral hospital are not exhausted. A new food supplier identified.

• No X-ray films, hospital needs blood. 

Drugs bought by Busia county government from Kemsa offloaded at Busia County Referral Hospital.
NO FOOD SHORTAGE: Drugs bought by Busia county government from Kemsa offloaded at Busia County Referral Hospital.
Image: FILE

The Busia County Government has denied claims that patients at the County Referral Hospital have gone without food for two weeks and said they only missed breakfast on Monday.

However, X-ray services are down because X-ray film has not been supplied.

The referral and subcounty hospitals are also short of blood and donations are needed.

Health and Sanitation chief officer Dr Isaac Omeri said on Wednesday the claims of a  food shortage were false. He said those making the clams should visit to see patients being served breakfast, lunch and supper on time.

Reports of food crisis at the Busia County Referral Hospital came to light when patients delayed getting breakfast for one day on Monday; this prompted speculations patients have been going without food,” Omeri said.

The Monday problem was caused by late food delivery to the hospital, he said.

Omeri said measures are in place ensure sufficient food is delivered following the expiration of the contract for the current supplier.

A new food supplier has been identified, the official said, adding the county will ensure food stocks at the hospital are not depleted.

He said the hospital gave out a Sh1 million tender for food supplies in December 2019, but since the processing of the Local Purchase Order was delayed, hospital management had to use urgent imprest to avail food to more than 300 patients at the county referral hospital and in Port Victoria.

Omeri said delayed payment of pending bills delayed issuance of tenders to suppliers bt he said the problem will be addressed through a supplementary budget allocation.

Dr Omeri said lack of X-ray films had stalled X-ray services.

The Kenya Medical Supplies Authority is mandated to supply the items but must be paid. Many hospitals have arrears.

“We are making efforts to have them delivered the soonest time possible,” he said.

The chief officer said blood usage at the referral and subcounty hospitals had been high due to sporadic anaemia arising from malaria and accidents.

When schools closed we are disadvantaged. With the schools now open we hope to get more blood,” he said, appealing to residents tod donate blood and save lives.

(Edited by V. Graham)