Friday, January 8, 2010

Alarm amid medicine shortage

Kenya's rainy season is the most dangerous for contracting malaria, a deadly disease carried by mosquitoes, and children are the most susceptible. "A shortage of malaria drugs for children has hit hospitals as fears of an outbreak of the disease loom following heavy rains in various parts of the country."

"The Kenya Medical Supplies Agency said stocks of the drugs were running low, but were in the process of being procured and could be delivered by the beginning of February." The Chief executive, John Munyu, is hopeful that the crisis will be avoided because deliveries are continuing. He indicated that "adult malarial drugs are already being supplied after a reported shortage in parts of the country."

The minister of medical services, Anyang' Nyong'o, claims that "the shortage of drugs was caused by inadequate funding by the Treasury." The "budget for Health ministries was laughable when compared to that for the Ministry of Education", he says. This is not the first shortage that Kenya has suffered in recent years. Antibiotics used to treat cholera "were nearly exhausted due to last year's outbreak".

Still, Nyong'o is confident that disaster will be avoided. He says, "I do not envisage any crisis because the government is already adding stocks to what is already there in the health facilities. That is mere replenishment."

Ogo, Kenneth. "Children's malaria drugs run out." Daily Nation. 7 January 2010.

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