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NCD's drugs shortage despite growing burden.

Only 33 per cent of essential medicines for the treatment of Non-Communicable Diseases is available in dispensaries.

The Kenya Health Facility Assessment Summary 2018 Report shows dispensaries have access to only one out of three required medicines.

Drugs for the treatment of infections had the highest availability at 70 per cent, while medicines to treat mental and neurological disorders had the lowest availability at 21 per cent.

The report was published after a survey in which 2,980 health facilities out of the total 10,535 were randomly sampled across all the 47 counties.

The sample included health facilities of all types such as dispensaries, medical clinics, health centres, primary hospitals and secondary hospitals.

'In public primary hospitals, the mean availability of tracer medicines for NCDs was 67 per cent and public hospitals had in average less than half of the required medicines to treat mental and neurological diseases,' the report says.

NCDs are mostly due to the adoption of unhealthy lifestyles such as physical inactivity, consumption of unhealthy foods, alcohol intake and tobacco use.

The adoption of these lifestyles is largely driven by urbanisation, westernisation and an aging population.

Nationally, the highest available tracer item was de-wormers (mebendazole or albendazole) at an average of 85 per cent while fluconazole (antifungal) was least available at an average of 45 per cent.

'While amoxicillin was available in all secondary and tertiary hospitals, only about two thirds(65 per cent)of dispensaries had this medicine available.'

According to the report, Nairobi tops list of counties in terms of availability of essential medicines ranged at 57 per cent, with the lowest being Bungoma with just 24 per cent.

Paracetamol was the most available for palliative care at an average of 77 per cent while Lorazepam tablets was the least available at an average of two per cent.

Nairobi had the highest number of facilities that had morphine granule and injectable or cap/tabs in stock whereas 11 counties had less than five per cent of the stock.

The survey recommends that with the rising burden of NCDs such as diabetes and hypertension, dispensaries should be better equipped to treat them.

The World Health Organization notes that nearly three-quarters of all NCD deaths worldwide take place in low and middle-income countries.

These 28 million deaths from cancers, diabetes, and cardiovascular and respiratory diseases are related to poverty and lack of early detection and treatment.

Health CS Sicily Kariuki has acknowledged the country needed to do more considering that close to 25 per cent of the population was either not on treatment, or unknowingly living with high blood pressure and other heart-related diseases.

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Publication:The Star (Nairobi, Kenya)
Geographic Code:6KENY
Date:Aug 21, 2019
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