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KEMSA board assures reforms will be undertaken lawfully

The Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) Board has assured reforms at the Authority will be undertaken in strict adherence to the legal and related protocols.

In a series of engagements with various stakeholders in Nairobi and Kisumu, Board Chairperson Mary Mwadime said the reforms will be undertaken lawfully and appealed to KEMSA debtors to consider prioritizing their pending bills settlement.

The Authority, she disclosed is owed more than Kshs 6 billion but expressed optimism of the speedy settlement of the outstanding bills to sustain normal operations even as reforms get underway.

Speaking in Kisumu, when she engaged the Kisumu County Government stakeholders led by County Pharmacist Dr Emma Obegi and Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital CEO Dr George Rae, Ms Mwadime assured County Governments that KEMSA will work together with stakeholders to resolve pending challenges.

In Nairobi, while updating international development partners, Ms Mwadime said the Board had scaled up organisational turn-around efforts to provide a solid foundation for the uptake of the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) goal among other national healthcare development plans.

The KEMSA Board backed by the Acting Chief Executive Officer Edward Njoroge engaged the development partners who had converged under their umbrella body, the Development Partners for Health in Kenya (DPH-K), as part of the ongoing stakeholder engagements.

The development partners present, including representatives from the World Health Organisation, Global Fund, USAID, CDC, UNAIDS, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, World Bank, among others.

“A dysfunctional KEMSA slows down healthcare delivery goals and is a liability to the envisaged positive national healthcare outcomes and the Board is committed to facilitating reforms to set the authority on a recovery path. This will include structured engagements with several county governments to settle their outstanding bills amounting to more than Kshs 6 Billion,” she said.

In Kisumu, the KEMSA and County Government teams resolved to review all areas of concern including the settlement of an outstanding debt of Sh 41 million to ensure orders placed by Kisumu County are processed. “One of the main issues we are grappling with is the matter of having proper quantification to enable us serve you better,” explained Ms Mwadime.

On her part, Dr Obegi said they are keen on working with KEMSA but urged for improvement in the order fill rate so that they are able to receive all the commodities requested and in good time.

“We are requesting that you bring together relevant teams to review the existing medical stocks to determine its relevance in healthcare. We have allocated Sh 80 million for purchasing HPTs for Rural Health Facilities and will appreciate if the orders are serviced to completion and all the centers get what they need to offer seamless service to Kisumu residents,” said Dr. Obegi.

She noted that most of KEMSA’s problems are systematic and will be addressed through the reforms that were announced last week which include, but are not limited to organizational restructuring.

Ms Mwadime, reiterated that as staff work from home for the next 30 days, the Authority is undertaking normal operations guided by a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) which was formulated and executed before the release of non-core workers.

She also emphasized the importance of County Governments owing KEMSA to settle their debts so that the Authority can service orders comfortably.

The Board, she assured is not working on a knee jerk reaction and is executing a well-considered reform plan formulated by the new KEMSA Board.

The Board is being assisted by a multi-agency operations team to handle logistics, human resource management, quality assurance, physical and information security, among other dockets.

The multi-agency team is drawn from public sector experts including officers from the Public Service Commission, State Corporations Advisory Committee (SCAC), Ministry of Health, Ministry of Public Service and Gender Affairs, Ministry of ICT, Innovation And Youth Affairs, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government and the National Treasury among others.

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