City Hall, Kemsa Sh300m debt row turns ugly

What you need to know:

  • Governor Mike Sonko said the county has kept its end of the bargain to pay at least Sh20 million monthly.
  • Mr Sonko directed his Health minister to seek alternative drugs supplier.
  • The governor made the directive when he opened a human milk bank at Pumwani Maternity Hospital.

Nairobi County government is considering turning to other drug suppliers to stock its health centres, accusing Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) of being unreliable.

Governor Mike Sonko said that his administration will seek for alternative sources which he did not mention following constant rowing with Kemsa over Sh300 million pending bills owed to the agency.

He directed his new Health minister Mohamed Dagane to buy medicine from other suppliers through emergency procurement to ensure all county hospitals are fully stocked.

“My administration will not allow Nairobi residents to continue suffering as a result of drug shortage in our health facilities. We will not allow Kemsa to sabotage service delivery and from next week. I want this matter settled so that service delivery is not interrupted in our county hospitals,” said Mr Sonko on Friday.


He was speaking at Pumwani Maternity Hospital where he launched a human milk bank aimed at ending cases of infant deaths at the facility.

The City Hall boss said the county has been paying at least Sh20 million monthly to Kemsa in accordance with their debt payment deal.

“We have reports that drugs worth over Sh300m that Kemsa allegedly supplied to county hospitals during the previous regime were diverted to private hospitals. I now ask the Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti to probe the debt,” he said.

Meanwhile, Pumwani Maternity Hospital has now become the first public hospital in East and Central region to have such a bank.

The hospital has a capacity of 150 baby cots, with a daily occupancy of 60 infants where between 10 and 12 are in need of donor human milk as a result of being born prematurely.

“Health experts at Pumwani Hospital are now required to ensure that the milk is well screened and free from viruses that can be transmitted to the infants,” said Mr Sonko.