High tax on non-pharmaceutical products is seen as a major hindrance to the achievement of universal healthcare in the country. Mission for Essential Drugs and Supplies (MEDS) Managing Director Dr Jane Masiga says tax on medical devices and equipment had increased cost of healthcare in the process locking out a huge proportion of the population.
“Simple products like gloves are taxed yet they are very essential in the healthcare system,” Dr Masiga said during the Health Systems Strengthening Award ceremony held at MEDS’ offices in Nairobi on Friday. “The government can assist in lowering costs of access by relooking at the tax regime on pharmaceutical products.”
The theme of the event was “Diversification in Medical Products and Technologies for Universal Health Coverage”.
[ SEE ALSO: Be ready to work from home; offices are being phased out ]
During the event, MEDS, a leading supplier of essential medicines and medical supplies in the region, launched a new range of high-tech medical equipment that it hopes to supply to the local hospitals.
Some of the medical equipment launched include baby resuscitaire, dental units, LED theatre operating lights, Haematology Analyzers, anesthesia machine and patient monitors.
She said with the advance in technology, medical devices offer great benefits to people, across the world. “The field of medical devices is large, diverse, competitive, and highly innovative,” Dr Masiga added. “It is also an area of great promise with a unique number of problems and challenges.”
She said strengthening of health care systems will benefit the country by ensuring health for all and delivering Universal Health Coverage which is part of the government’s Big 4 agenda.
“Health systems that function well have certain shared characteristics,” she said. “They have procurement and distribution systems that deliver interventions to those in need. They are staffed with skilled workers and they operate with financing systems that are sustainable, inclusive, and fair.”
[ READ ALSO: Ceasar raids SportPesa gamblers’ paradise ]
She said collaboration between suppliers, hospitals and financial institutions would a have a greater impact on delivering quality and affordable healthcare services. “We are confident that these supplies and equipment will be used appropriately and that health services for members of the general public will be improved as a result,” she added.
During the awards, across section of MEDS customers were awarded depending on the volume of purchases from the organisation in 2018. The first award went to Mater Misericordiae Hospital which purchased supplies worth Ksh237, 208, 244.