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GoG urges extensive KEMSA reforms as counties mull alternate suppliers – Capital FM Kenya

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NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 9 – The Council of Governors (CoG) has called for extensive reforms in the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (KEMSA) to ensure accountability to counties.
“The centralized procurement and distribution system for health products and technologies ought to be restructured in a manner that fully is aligned to devolution and accords joint accountability to both National and County Governments,” CoG stated in a statement issued on Tuesday.
The council made the appeal amid uncertainty over operations after over 900 employees were locked out of crucial systems in a raft of interventions by the national government that saw several employees directed to work from home.
The agency, solely mandated under the law to procure, warehouse and distribute medical commodities to public health facilities, has been faced by an image crisis after its tendering processes for coronavirus supplies found to have contravened procurement laws.
Government responded by reconstituting the KEMSA board in April by replacing then Chairperson Kembi Gitura, former Deputy Speaker of the Senate, with Chao Mwadime.
The appointment of four KEMSA board members – Timothy Mwololo Waema, Dorothy Atieno, Bibiana Njue, and Joel Chisare – was also revoked and Lawrence Wahome, Robert Nyirangu, Terry Kiunge Ramadhani and Linkon Nyaga Kinyua named in their place.
The reconstitution of the board coincided with a parliamentary probe during which the Auditor General tabled a report indicating KEMSA had irregularly issued commitment letters totaling Sh7.8 billion.
The military take over at KEMSA on Monday was however nipped in the bud when the court suspended move mandated by President Uhuru Kenyatta pending the determination of a suit filed by Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMPDU).

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KMPDU challenged a decision to enlist members of the Kenya Defence Forces and additional support staff from the National Youth   Services (NYS) citing the violation of the Constitution.
The Union said KEMSA failed to adhere to the laid down legal process while effecting the changes further challenging the categorization of affected KEMSA staff members as none-core workers.
KMPDU said the move was “factually wrong, unfair, and unjust and there were no established criteria put in place to determine the core and none-care members.”
In its statement on Tuesday, the governors’ council reaffirmed the need to ensure KEMSA is accountable to county governments noting that devolved governments manage more health facilities (Level I-V) compared to the national government which only runs national referral facilities.
“Implied in these functions is the obvious fact that the demands of the 47 County Governments for medical supplies and equipment are higher than those of the National Government,” CoG stated.
“In view of the heavy usage of KEMSA by the 47 County Governors the institution should be conceptualized, established and structured as a Joint Entity of both National and County Governments which has to be answerable and accountable to both levels of Government,” the council added.
The council said counties will not hesitate to engage an alternative supplier to ensure seamless service delivery in counties.

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