TO BE PUNISHED

Busia warns health staff who steal public hospital drugs

They sell them to private clinics and pharmacies

In Summary

• Health chief officer Isaac Omeri said on Wednesday the county government will take legal action against those involved in the unlawful act.

• The county government, he said, will carry out an investigation to identify the owners of private clinics and pharmacies established near public hospitals.

Busia Health chief officer Isaac Omeri on November 24, 2021, in Busia.
CONCERNED: Busia Health chief officer Isaac Omeri on November 24, 2021, in Busia.
Image: EMOJONG OSERE

Health officials caught selling medical supplies meant for public hospitals to private clinics and pharmacies will be punished, the Busia government has warned.

Health chief officer Isaac Omeri said on Wednesday the county government will take legal action against those involved in the unlawful act.

The county government, he said, will carry out an investigation to identify the owners of private clinics and pharmacies established near public hospitals.

“We have been receiving complaints that our own officers at the health department run these chemists near hospitals,” Omeri told journalists in Busia.

“These are cases that we will have to investigate because before we take any action we have to establish the identity of the people running those chemists first.”

Omeri said setting up such businesses near government health facilities to connive with hospital staff to sell drugs meant for public hospitals is illegal and punishable by law.

He, however, noted that the law does not bar businesspeople from establishing clinics and pharmacies near public hospitals. 

“Businesspeople know that the best location for chemists is near hospitals and there is no law that bars such people from setting up chemists near our hospitals provided there is space. We do not have regulations preventing people from opening chemists near government hospitals,” Omeri said.

“If anyone knows public health officials involved in selling government hospital drugs, my office is open. Come and present your complaint and we will take appropriate action to address this problem.”

Omeri said the county government will not condone acts of carting away drugs from public health facilities to private hospitals for profit-making purposes.

The health department, he said, will act swiftly on any reports of theft of drugs from public hospitals.

“If there are any of our health officials involved in the stealing of our drugs, as a department, we will investigate and take proper action because government drugs are not supposed to be sold anywhere apart from hospitals.”

Omeri spoke to the press during a review of the County Fiscal Strategy Paper for the 2022-23 Financial Year at the Busia Agricultural Training Centre.

He said the health department will strive to ensure members of the public receive improved healthcare services in all public hospitals across the county every year.

Edited by A.N