Kenya's National Hospital Develops Country's First-Ever Drug Formulary

 {Photo credit: Yvonne Otieno/MSH}Dr. John Chimumbwa, Health Commodities and Services Management (HCSM) program Chief of Party, speaks at the launch.Photo credit: Yvonne Otieno/MSH

Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) unveiled a new drug formulary, the first of its kind in Kenya, on September 6, 2013. The formulary consists of a list of all drugs used at KNH and guidelines on prescribing, dispensing, and providing medicine information to patients. 

According to Dr. Enoch Omonge, the chairman of the Formulary Review Sub-Committee, “the KNH formulary is intended to promote safe, efficacious, rational, and cost-effective supply and use of pharmaceuticals.”

At the launch event held on the hospital administration grounds, Dr. Rachael Nyamai, representing the Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Health, applauded KNH’s efforts in setting a global standard in health care services. “These initiatives are important to steer the hospital to compete both locally and internationally,” said Dr. Nyamai. 

Recognizing the critically important partnership between the public and private sector in developing the formulary, Dr. Nyamai added that Kenya requires both public and private sector to realize universal health care as part of Vision 2030, Kenya’s blueprint for development. “With the support of the private sector and non-governmental organizations, Kenya can make strides to be the regional provider of choice for specialized health care,” noted Dr. Nyamai. 

Mr. Carylus Odiango, representing KNH’s office of the chief executive officer, emphasized the key role the hospital is playing in national health policy. “The team has given us a medicines reference document that reflects our national commitment to quality health care,” said Mr. Odiango. 

Historically, African countries have relied on formularies borrowed from other countries, such as the British National Formulary. These formularies did not meet the information needs and requirements of African health systems.

Management Sciences for Health (MSH), through its US Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Health Commodities and Services Management (HCSM) program, worked alongside the Medicines and Therapeutics Committee to develop the formulary. According to HCSM Chief of Party Dr. John Chimumbwa, support by the US government, “is part of [its] broader commitment to strengthen the Kenya health system to improve the quality of, and increase access to, health services for all Kenyans."

KNH is a national referral and teaching hospital that treats over 700,000 patients annually. The new formulary will help improve health outcomes by providing current, evidence-based medicines information.

[The committee and guests of honor at the launch event of the Kenyatta National Hospital formulary.] {Photo credit: Yvonne Otieno/MSH}The committee and guests of honor at the launch event of the Kenyatta National Hospital formulary.Photo credit: Yvonne Otieno/MSH