Factors influencing availability of tracer essential medicines in selected health facilities in Nyeri County, Kenya

Minai Samuel Munga, Tabither Muthoni Gitau, Lawrence Mirie Kimani, Peterson Kariuki, Enoch Ng'etich


Background: Tracer essential medicines are drugs which fully fulfil a population’s health requirements and ought to be always available allowing for a properly functioning health system all the time. They should be available in the appropriate dosage, adequate amounts and at assured quality at a price that many people and the community can easily afford.

Methods: Analytical cross-sectional study design was used. This study utilized a mixed method approach (qualitative, observation and quantitative).

Results: The study found out that artemether lumefantrine was the least available drug at 50% in all the sampled facilities with KEMSA cited as the main supplier of tracer essential medicines in these facilities. Policy formulation was done without any involvement of pharmacy in-charges and policies passed at the county management team merely passed onto the staff at the health facilities without their engagement.

Conclusions: With the roll out of UHC program, majority of the participants indicated an increase in the availability of essential drugs in Nyeri County hence the government should roll out the program countrywide. Health management and leadership teams in the county needs to engage the pharmacy in-charges during policy making and changes, provide efficient communication in the supply chain system, including proper inventory management systems and to enhance research of drugs and emerging diseases in the county.


Analytical cross-sectional, Nyeri County, Policy formulation, Tracer medicines

Full Text:



WHO. Equitable affordability of vital essential medicines: The framework for joint action. A bulletin of the World Health Organization. 2010.

Marsh DR, Gilroy KE, Van de Weerdt R, Wansi E, Qazi S. Community case management of pneumonia: at a tipping point? Bull World Health Organ. 2008;86:381-9.

Ministry of Health-Republic of Uganda: Essential Medicines and Health Supplies List for Uganda (EMHSLU) 2012. Kampala; 2012. Available from: Accessed on 6 October 2020.

Republic of Kenya, Ministry of Health. The Kenya National Patients Right Charter. 1st edn. Ministry of Health, Nairobi: Kenya; 2013.

Kawira MS. (2016). Accessibility of the main tracer drugs found in public care centers in Nyeri County, Kenya.

World Health Organization. (2015). The Selection and Use of Essential Medicines: Report of the WHO Expert Committee, 2015 (including the 19th WHO Model List of Essential Medicines and the 5th WHO Model List of Essential Medicines for Children) (No. 994). World Health Organization. Available from: essentialmeds_committeereports/en/. Accessed on 6 October 2020.

Fredrick MW, Muturi W. Factors influencing frequent stock-out of essential medicines in public health facilities in Kisii County, Kenya. IOSR J Business Manag. 2016;18(10):63-75.

World Health Organization. Assessment of the pharmaceutical situation in Kenya: a baseline survey. Nairobi, Kenya: Ministry of Health. 2003‎. Available from: handle/10665/69112. Accessed on 6 October 2020.

Muchomba F. Influence of devolved governance and performance of the health sector in Kenya. Strat J Business Change Manage. 2015;2(2).

Wagenaar BH, Gimbel S, Hoek R, Pfeiffer J, Michel C, Manuel JL, et al. Stock‐outs of essential health products in Mozambique- longitudinal analyses from 2011 to 2013. Trop Med Int Health. 2014;19(7):791-801.

Joseph W, Julia T, Emmanuel M, Godfrey S, Leni W. Stock-outs of essential medicines in Tanzania. A political economy approach to analysing problems and identifying solutions. 2014.

USAID/Tanzania Health Systems Strengthening Strategy 2013-2018. Available from: Accessed on 6 October 2020.

Magadzire B. Budden A, Ward K, Jeffery R, Sanders D. Frontline health workers as brokers: Provider perceptions, experiences and mitigating strategies to improve access to essential medicines in South Africa. BMC Health Serv Res. 2014;14:520.