KEMSA Powers Slashed in New Health Reforms
Looming changes at the Kenya Medical and Supplies Authority (Kemsa) will see the body lose its procurement powers as part of the Ministry of Health’s planned reforms.
According to Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha, the procurement role will be transferred to other entities while Kemsa will be left with warehousing and distribution.
In what has been Nakhumicha’s reform agenda since taking charge of the Ministry, she intimated that the drug distributor should be focused on giving Kenyans and counties the services they needed.
Health CS Susan Nakhumicha during an inspection tour of Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret on January 3, 2023.
Ministry of Health
“If Kemsa is unable to do procurement, then we will have to delegate the role to experts leaving Kemsa with warehousing and distribution,” she remarked.
Equally, the Health CS stated that the ministry would leverage the authority’s capacity to distribute while freeing the agency from roles it could not handle.
“We promised affordability of commodities and health care and this is purely the responsibility of Kemsa. We are rethinking what strategies to use in terms of procurement to meet the basic needs of Kenyans,” she added.
Additionally, Nakhumicha intimated that the ministry had developed guidelines for collaboration between the drug distributor and all health institutions including private, public and faith-based to achieve economies of scale.
“In procurement, once you consolidate and the quantities are large, you buy less frequently and this will reduce the cost of healthcare. We are analysing all commodities and will procure them at the lowest price possible,” she disclosed.
On November 9, 2022, Nakhumicha spelt out the planned transformation of operations at Kemsa to enhance efficiency.
She revealed the bare minimums were in line with the Government’s agenda of achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
“Kemsa needs to play its part in this noble cause,” the CS opined.
“We have had quite extensive discussions with the CEO and board of directors and we have agreed on a number of things we need to do in terms of bare minimums that we must achieve to contribute positively towards UHC,” she added.
Equally, the Health CS suggested that the institution would employ technology to improve efficiency and transparency on how procurement processes are done and who benefits.
Kemsa hit the headlines during the pandemic after it emerged that Kenyans lost billions in shady procurement deals.
The Kenya Medical Supplies Agencies headquarters in Industrial Area Nairobi.