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Counties owe KEMSA Sh2.5 billion for medical supplies

By Benard Lusigi | February 28th 2021

Drugs and medical items from Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

The Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) could suspend supply of medical commodities to counties over outstanding Sh2.5 billion debt.

The huge debt has had serious implications on Kemsa operations, according to the authority’s board chair Kembi Getura.

Speaking moments after a meeting with Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, the board chair said the debt threatens to cripple service delivery at the body.

“We would like to negotiate with all the devolved units that owe Kemsa so that they can start making some payments to reduce the debt.

“The arrangement is meant to ensure the counties continue receiving medical supplies uninterrupted,” Getura said.

He added that formulating a payment plan would avert another health crisis on top of Covid-19 pandemic which has affected service delivery in hospitals.

Counties were also affected by the nationwide health workers’ strike that ended recently.

Oparanya urged Kemsa not to stop supplies but give counties time to address the payment issue.

He said discontinuing medical supplies could see many innocent people seeking health services in public health facilities suffer.

Oparanya said he was aware of the crisis occasioned by the decision by Kemsa to cut supplies of medical commodities to some counties due to non-payment of debts amounting to billions of shillings.

“We should engage in negotiations on how to handle debts to avoid cases of supplies being suspended,” said the governor.

He urged Kemsa to establish a regional depot for medical commodities in Kakamega to cater for Western Kenya.

Getura, who led a delegation of the board members on a tour of Kakamega County, affirmed Kemsa’s commitment to offer effective and quality services.

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