The Council of Governors (CoG) has urged the national government to step in and revamp the struggling Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa), which it says is dysfunctional and impeding the realization of universal health coverage.
During a five-day induction meeting for county medical directors in Mlolongo, CoG health committee chairperson Muthomi Njuki stated that Kemsa was failing to provide drugs and medical equipment to counties. Njuki added that the authority was currently holding dead stock accumulated during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Fernandes Barasa, CoG Finance Committee chairperson, also raised concerns about Kemsa’s state, stating that “the government must move with speed to bail out the medical supplier.”
Njuki further stressed the importance of counties relying on Kemsa rather than private medical suppliers, which he said charged exorbitant prices. He cited the example of Tharaka-Nithi County, which recently requested insulin from private suppliers that charged Sh800 per unit compared to Kemsa’s Sh200.
However, Njuki questioned the recent threat of a strike by medical interns, stating that they were not employees of the counties. He suggested that learning institutions should produce fewer medics to reduce the number of unemployed healthcare professionals in the market.
Njuki also expressed concerns about the Health Ministry’s plan to increase token payments to community health workers, saying that the counties’ resources were limited.
Dr. Andrew Mulwa, the Medical Services Director of Preventive and Promotive Health, assured that the government was addressing the challenges faced by the Ministry of Health, including delayed medical supplies and medics’ welfare, to ensure seamless health services in both county and national government health facilities.
As the CoG committed to collaborating with the National government to improve health services, the fate of Kemsa and the provision of healthcare services in Kenya remain uncertain.