Kemsa gets Sh2bn infusion for restocking

Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) Chairman Irungu Nyakera.

Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) Chairman Irungu Nyakera.

Photo credit: File | Nation media Group

The Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) plans to use Sh2bn allocated in the supplementary budget to pay suppliers and increase stocks available for immediate deployment, the board has said.

In a statement to the media, the Authority said that the allocation was in fulfilment of President William Ruto’s pledge to strengthen the effective delivery of essential medical supplies and fulfil Kenya’s Kwanza promise to successfully implement Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

In February, Dr Ruto said his administration would seek to attract investors from the private sector to work with the government to actualise UHC and cut the cost of medical care.

Kemsa board chairman Irungu Nyakera said the funds allocated will strictly be earmarked for the procurement of health products and technologies to meet demand.

“This money is not for construction or development but specifically to pay our suppliers so that we ensure our order fill rate gets to where it is supposed to be,” he said.

An order fill rate refers to the percentage of customer orders — in this case, for Kemsa, counties and all hospitals in Kenya — that are immediately fulfilled by available stock.

Mr Nyakera was speaking during a one-day forum themed Fostering Collaborative and Strategic Partnerships that brought together County Executive Committees and Chief Officers from all 47 counties.

The key concern raised annually was the availability of adequate stocks to provide healthcare to mwananchi.

According to Mr Nyakera, the major hindrance to Kemsa increasing its medical stock availability was the inability to pay suppliers. Kemsa currently owes Sh2.6 billion. But, he added, that on the other hand, counties owe Kemsa Sh2.8 billion, which if collected, would enable the Authority to restock.

Procurement completed soon

In September, Kemsa Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Mulwa acknowledged the delays but insisted that procurement would be completed soon.

Dr Andrew Mutava Mulwa

Kemsa Acting Chief Executive Officer  Dr Andrew Mutava Mulwa before the Senate Committee on Health in June.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

“The reality is that Kemsa was dying and had run out of essential drugs and commodities before we came. After talking to suppliers, we now have 38 of the 47 critical items,” he said.

On Tuesday at the same event, he stated that the Constitution guarantees every Kenyan the highest attainable standards of health and this can only be achieved if we all played our rightful role.

“We need to have an engagement so that everyone understands that Kemsa runs a revolving fund, such that whether you pay all your debt today, you still make more orders followed by a delivery. It is a cycle,” said Dr Mulwa.

According to the CEO, it would take Sh3.5 billion to fix the procurement challenges at the government agency.

“We can only boast a steady supply of essential medicines and commodities by paying suppliers. This is why we urgently require Sh3.5 billion to resuscitate Kemsa and get it out of ICU. We need the Sh2 billion to jumpstart it now, but also another Sh1.5 billion later,” the CEO said.

Machakos County CEC for Health Daniel Yumbya, who spoke on behalf of the county health ministers, said that the major challenge facing counties was the depressed funding to healthcare, which makes it difficult to plan adequately.

“If we had enough funds, we would not owe Kemsa any money. We are only able to provide health products and technologies in our facilities courtesy of the credit facilities provided by the Authority,” he said.