Police have arrested four suspects linked to a syndicate involved in stealing and trading free government drugs in Machakos town.
The four, working in two private clinics opposite Machakos Level 5 Hospitals were arrested during a joint crackdown conducted by Governor Alfred Mutua and DCI officers headed by town Sub-county DCI boss Rodah Kanyi on Thursday.
Theatre equipment and drugs labelled GoK were recovered from Lugpharm Clinic after its owner was unable to explain how the consignment found its way to the facility.
It was also established that the clinic’s clinical officer was a “quack”.
At an adjacent clinic, the owner quickly closed the door when he noticed police officers.
He was, however, arrested as he attempted to flee.
Mutua said the crackdown was prompted by several residents who complained that some of the public hospitals in the county do not have drugs and that patients get referred to certain private clinics to buy drugs once they are diagnosed in the facilities.
“I have this morning accompanied police officers as they raided private pharmacies and clinics in Machakos that are using medicine, lab reagents and equipment from Machakos government hospitals,” Mutua said.
He addressed the press during the raid in Machakos town.
“We were able to find unqualified people (quacks) treating people who had been referred to the clinics by some of my health workers,” he added.
Mutua said he was shocked to see medicines and equipment clearly labelled as government property in private clinics.
He said some of the operators locked in patients and ran away during the crackdown since they know the kind of crooked activities they have been undertaking.
“I was heartbroken to find innocent patients who had been forced to sell goats to go to a private pharmacy instead of receiving free and total healthcare at our hospitals. I later toured Machakos Level 5 where I established that we have major challenges in thinking through and planning for our patients,” added he.
Mutua directed that no patient being treated in any of the Machakos hospitals should be referred to an outside lab, x-ray centre, pharmacy, etc.
He said it is his administration’s responsibility to provide these services.
“If they are not there, you will be told they are not there and given another date when they will be available so that you get them,” said Mutua.
Mutua said the Directorate of Criminal Investigations is undertaking thorough investigations so as to arrest members of the cartels that have been sabotaging services in Machakos Government’s hospitals so as to benefit private clinics.
He said the culprits could be colluding with Machakos County Government’s officers to steal the drugs from public health facilities for stocking in private clinics, chemists and laboratories.