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Health workers at Samburu County Referral Hospital in Maralal are being forced to buy drugs for patients because of an acute shortage.

Sources narrated how patients admitted to the hospital in the surgical ward writhe in pain for lack of basic painkillers.

A senior nurse, who sought anonymity for fear of being victimised, said they buy drugs for the neediest patients.

“We meet every morning to decide who among us is buying antibiotics for the patients,” the source said.

A nurse said some colleagues provide antibiotics in the children’s ward.

“We are doing this because we are human beings. If a patient dies, it will be said that he or she lost their life out of negligence,” said another nurse.

Workers urged the government to deliver drugs at the hospital.

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“Most of our people are poor. They are not able to buy drugs from pharmacies in town,” said another employee.

Many residents are now turning to traditional herbalists.

Herbs are cheaper and traditional healers convince residents that they cure different ailments.

Herbalists in Maralal open-air market said they are making high sales.

Nurses and doctors said the lack of drugs makes their work difficult.

“Imagine prescribing to a patient drugs that you know are not available, it is hard for most of us,” a nurse said.

Speaking to the Star on the phone on Tuesday, the county’s chief officer for Health Sam Nakope said other hospitals countrywide are also facing the same problem.

He said the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency will be delivering drugs to the hospital any time.

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