A bill brought before the Senate by Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Nominated Senator Naomi Shiyonga, if passed, will see the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) lose the exclusive rights it holds to supply county hospitals.
The KEMSA Amendment Bill, 2021, seeks to delete the legal provision that requires the county governments to procure drųgs and medical supplies from the Authority as the first point of call.
Repealing the provision will allow counties to procure drųgs from suppliers other than KEMSA. The bill was introduced amid heightened pressure from the Council of Governors (COG) who have cited drųg shortages and KEMSA procurement scąndals involving inflated prices as reason for them to be allowed to engage other suppliers.
The bill highlights inefficiencies in KEMSA that affect delivery of supplies to counties. It cites the fill rate – referring to the percentage of customer orders a company can fulfill without running out of inventory to fill customer orders.
“In order to fulfill this obligation, the county health facilities must be supplied with medical supplies in adequate quantities and in a timely manner.”
“The fill rate of the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority has only been up to sixty per centum over time and this has resulted the constrained ability of county governments to ensure that the county health facilities have adequate drųgs and medical supplies to efficiently and effectively ensure the highest attainable standard of health for the citizens of each county,” the proposed law states.
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The bill notably retains KEMSA as the first point of call for procurement of drugs and medical supplies at the county referral level.
Under pressure from counties, medical unions, anti-corrųption activists and development partners, the government has been attempting to undertake reforms at KEMSA.
Counties have pointed a finger at KEMSA when questioned on drųg shortages in county hospitals and lack of other medical supplies.
The body has been fightįng to regain public confidence since the uncovering of the ‘Covid Billionaires’ scandąl in 2020. The procurement scam which cost Kenyan taxpayers billions of shillings saw KEMSA procure supplies including PPEs and other Covid-19 related supplies at hugely inflated rates from shadowy companies.
A new board was appointed and the authority has been strengthening its distribution network to sort its supply chain challenges. It unveiled dispatch centres in Nairobi, Kisumu, Mombasa and Meru.
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