Counties disown Kemsa PPE list

Mogotio Sub-county Hospital Medical Superintendent Angela Tengekion shows the PPE and other items that Baringo County procured for its fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, July 30, 2020. 

Photo credit: Cheboite Kigen | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • The number of items that the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) claims it released to county governments differs from what the devolved units say they received, raising queries about whether the agency delivered the items or counties under-declared them.
  • An official in a country in Western Kenya, who sought anonymity, said they only received 100 N95 masks from the government while the list shows they received about 1,500 PPE.

Kits and equipment given by donors to fight the coronavirus pandemic may not have reached counties or the devolved units diverted them, data seen by the Nation shows.

The number of items that the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) claims it released to county governments differs from what the devolved units say they received, raising queries about whether the agency delivered the items or counties under-declared them.

For instance, on the list of consignments from the Ministry of Health to counties, which the Sunday Nation has seen, Samburu County received 36 personal protective gear — 21 gowns and 16 coveralls— but county’s health executive Stephen Lekupe said they did not receive any PPE from the national government.

He told the Nation that the government once donated 200 masks, yet they were using 350 surgical masks per day.

“This means that they gave us a half day’s consignment,” he said.

Turkana County says it got 15 PPE kits but the Kemsa list shows that it received 25.

Insufficiencies

An official in a country in Western Kenya, who sought anonymity, said they only received 100 N95 masks from the government while the list shows they received about 1,500 PPE.

“We have never received any PPE from the national government. All we received were donations from the Equity Bank,” said the official.

Details remain scanty from other counties, with some refusing to discuss it.

“I am not allowed to say anything, I am in the Covid-19 response committee but it is frustrating, to say the least,”said the official.

“We bought the PPE, as no donations have come our way.”

However, from the list, the county received more than 1,000 PPE from the World Bank.

Some counties such as Meru and Homa Bay were lucky enough to receive a number of items from the national government although they would not discuss the numbers.

“We have enough of them. Some were from the ministry but I do not have the number,” said Maurice Kaluoch, Homa Bay County communications officer.

Distribution

The documents detailing the donations from various organisations show that by May the country had received 458,000 medical gowns, 35,500 surgical protective suits, at least 13 million N95 respirator masks, 184,000 coveralls, 762,400 face shields, 294,500 surgical masks and 324,911 protective gloves.

Others were 272,200 goggles, 4,500 medical shoe covers and 435,000 normal masks.

The donations were distributed to the counties with those deemed hot spots, including Kiambu, Kajiado, Busia, Nakuru, Migori, Uasin Gishu, Nyeri and Lamu getting more.

Nairobi got the highest donations — 30,264 gowns and 7,334 overalls — followed by Mombasa with 3,422 gowns and 1,537 coveralls, Kiambu 3,162 gowns and 1,467 coveralls, Kajiado 2,424 gowns and 1,110 coveralls . Busia received 1,352 gowns and 592 coveralls, Nakuru 1,035 gowns and 435 coveralls while Migori got 612 gowns and 235 coveralls.

Health minister Mutahi Kagwe said that either the counties are not telling the truth or the consignments never reached them.

“Going forward, the ministry will be announcing any donation it makes to the counties. We want to work in a transparent manner,” Mr Kagwe said. “

The list is always generated at the Ministry then sent to Kemsa for distribution.

“The counties are expected to sign when they receive the consignments,” the minister added.

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