Deputy President William Ruto has pledged to invest in the manufacturing sector to create jobs and enable the country to make pharmaceutical products locally.
Speaking at Catholic University of Eastern Africa during the health economic forum, DP Ruto said Kenya Medical Supply Authority (Kemsa) cartels are making it impossible for local manufacturers to access the Kenyan market.
This followed a complaint by medics that the cost of healthcare wouldn’t be affordable as long as inputs that are used to manufacture drugs are taxed.
“We will have a competitive, transparent and stakeholder driven procurement of health products, as well as local manufacturing of pharmaceutical products, which must inform creation of job opportunities. During a routine tour of Coast region, I interacted with a trader, who said that, despite being able to export his products to far-flung areas, he has been unable to access the Kenyan market. This is because of cartels, which must be done away with,” he said.
He added that his government will set up an electronic health records management system to avoid duplication of effort and reduce costs incurred by patients, especially those who are referred from one hospital to another.
This came after another complaint that medics have to redo tests on patients who had already had the tests in a different hospital, which wasted time and money. It would be good, Dr Ruto said, to have a system that stores records of patients across hospitals, to shorten the time needed attending to patients, and for ease of reference.
“We will also ensure that we build the capacity of the health service commission, to ensure that doctors can obtain scholarships and pursue further studies as needed, without constraining the ability of the health facilities from where they work to provide services. Often, county governments have complained that they are unable to offer scholarships to doctors, and even when they are able to, they have to hire someone else to carry on with the doctor’s duties while they are away, which may impact on service delivery,” said the DP.
“We have to find a balance between promoting career progression and ensuring that there is service delivery,” he added.
The DP also promised that, should he be elected, his government will ensure that community health volunteers get a stipend whose cost will be shared equally the county and national governments. This will ensure that community health volunteers, who work to decongest medical facilities and who often go without compensation, are well rewarded.