RECORDS FIRST CASE

Constant supply of drugs needed to counter COVID-19

First case in Kenya reported on Friday in Ongata Rongai, Kajiado county

In Summary

• Kenya imports 70 per cent of the finished medical products consumed in the country. 

• State has less than 50 drug manufacturers who produce pharmaceutical products mainly for the East African Community market.

Nurse Maggy Ogonga of Mbagathi County Hospital in protective gear for coronavirus.
DRUGS FROM CHINA, INDIA: Nurse Maggy Ogonga of Mbagathi County Hospital in protective gear for coronavirus.
Image: MARGARET WANJIRU

The World Health Organization declared coronavirus a global pandemic after 118,000 cases reported globally in 114 countries

A pandemic is a disease epidemic that has spread across a vast region. Even as Kenya confirms her first case, the Ministry of Health and other stakeholders have heightened measures to protect Kenyans, including suspension of travel and transportation of goods to and from the most affected countries.

The economic and social impact of this is already being felt way in the health supply chain with Kenya Pharmaceutical Distributors Association chairman saying they’ve seen prices of most of the common generic drugs go up by 50 per cent. 

This means Kenyans seeking health services may be required to dig deeper into their pockets, the National Hospital Insurance Fund and other similar service providers may be affected as well. 

 

According to KPDA, Kenya imports 70 per cent of the finished medical products consumed in the country, and 30 per cent of the active ingredients – mainly from China and India.

Being the world’s biggest pharmaceutical manufacturing countries, the duo has scaled down production while other factories close as the pandemic continues to spread across the globe.

Kenya has less than 50 drug manufacturers who produce pharmaceutical products mainly for the East African Community market.

The ministry, with other regulatory authorities and stakeholders including WHO, must step up to mitigate potential drug shortage in the country at this critical time by scaling up limitations of drug exports, exploring non-convectional health commodity suppliers and accelerating issuing of market authorisation for new applications as long as they meet the required standards. 

 

Nairobi