Please pray for me: CS Nakhumicha appeals over Kemsa, NHIF cleanup

Pray for me, CS Nakhumicha appeals

Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha has vowed not to be intimidated or threatened by cartels working with rogue government officials to stop the ongoing war against graft in two top state agencies.

The Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (Kemsa) and the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) are under fire for mismanagement and corrupt dealings.

The CS noted that there were strong and influential cartels at Kemsa and the ministry in general, and she was determined to deal with them head on.       

"I know I am treading on dangerous ground and I need your prayers to complete my mission to clean up the mess at the medical authority," she said.

Kemsa is at the centre of a multi-billion shilling scandal that saw the Geneva-based Global Fund cancel a Sh3.7 billion tender for treated bed nets after reports that a Chinese firm that met all the tender requirements had been unfairly excluded.

The nets were to be distributed to low-income families in 23 districts to reduce exposure to deadly malaria. The nets were due to be distributed to eligible families by November this year.

President William Ruto has since sent home the entire Kemsa board, including suspending chief executive officer Terry Ramadhani over the botched multi-million shilling tender and sacking Principal Secretary for Public Health Dr Josephine Mburu.

The NHIF, meanwhile, has been reeling from allegations that some of its officials are using rogue hospitals to milk it for scandalous deals, including defrauding the fund by offering unnecessary and potentially harmful surgeries to elderly Kenyans. Branch managers in the affected areas have since been suspended while investigations continue.

Admitting that it was not an easy task to fight and win the war against corruption in her portfolio, the CS vowed to stop at nothing in her efforts to break the cartels rocking the health sector.

Speaking at St Joseph Catholic Mission Level 4 Hospital in Trans Nzoia County, Ms Nakhumicha vowed to take on the cartels behind the deep-rooted corruption in KEMSA and restore sanity to the institutions.

"I will not be afraid to act and I will not be afraid to act against the malpractices that have taken root in the two institutions. Kenyans need better services and the government will not allow individuals to benefit from public resources at the expense of Kenyans," she said.

The CS said the clean-up exercise at the two key institutions in the Ministry of Health was unstoppable, noting that she was counting on the support of President William Ruto. She assured Kenyans that the clean-up exercise at the two institutions was unstoppable as it would bring about the desired improvement in service delivery, promising to deliver results within the next two months.

Ms Nakhumicha, a procurement expert, asked Kenyans to pray for her, noting that she had been "stirring the pot" in a dangerous area controlled by powerful cartels.

"The war against graft in Kemsa and NHIF is on and no amount of intimidation will stop me from acting. I am confident of winning the war," said the CS, who has been very vocal about the goings-on at the two institutions.

The CS, who was accompanied by Trans Nzoia Governor George Natembeya and Kitale Catholic Bishop Juma Odonya, lauded the collaboration between the church and the state to improve the country's health and education sectors.

She presided over the upgrading of St John's Mission Hospital from a level 3 to a level 4 facility and pledged the government's support to the facility. She presented medical drugs worth Sh330,000 from Kemsa to the facility.

Governor Natembeya promised that his administration would work with the management of the facility to promote health services in the county.

The Governor also warned private chemists and medical facilities that act as conduits for the theft of drugs and medical equipment from public facilities that they may soon be thrown behind bars.