We are reviewing Kemsa's structure to enhance efficiency, say new officials

An assortment of medical supplies at Kemsa depot in Nairobi. [Samson Wire, Standard]

The new Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) board is currently reviewing the structure of the agency to enhance efficiency.

Board chairman Irungu Nyakera and acting CEO Andrew Mulwa told The Standard that they are discussing the areas that need to be fast-tracked and strengthened to “reboot Kemsa's operational efficiency."

Among the areas the board is looking at during the ongoing three-day induction include ways of enhancing the authority's relationships with stakeholders.

“We are steering the management towards developing a robust road map to reposition the organisation and put it on the right track,” Dr Mulwa said.

Nyakera and Mulwa were appointed alongside board members Hezbon Omollo, Bernard Bett, Dr Jane Masiga and Ms Jane Mbatia.

The board was inaugurated by Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha after the authority’s CEO Terry Ramadhani was suspended following irregularities in tendering of long-lasting mosquito nets valued at Sh3.7 billion. Ramadhani was suspended alongside chairman Daniel Rono. The Kenyan government lost the tender to an international supplier Wambo.org.

Nakhumicha said she is confident the new team would end corruption which has tainted the image of Kemsa for a long time. The authority is regarded as an aggregator of health products and technologies.

During its inauguration, Nakhumicha directed the team to ensure health facilities across the country are adequately and optimally stocked with essential health products.

The CS warned staff that none will be allowed to taint the image of the institution.

In the past, the authority has faced multiple damning scandals, an issue that continues to affect the delivery of quality healthcare services across the country.

Kemsa came into the limelight in 2020 following the misappropriation of Sh7.8 billion in Covid-19 funds after which Ramadhani replaced Johana Manjari as CEO.

The CS called on agencies investigating graft at the authority to move with speed and bring culprits to book.

Health CS Susan Nakhumicha, Medical Services PS Harry Kimtai and acting Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) CEO Andrew Mulwa during the inauguration of the agency’s new board in Embakasi, Nairobi, on April 18, 2023. [File, Standard]

“Mine is to ask them to hasten the process and give us the results. They cannot investigate the matter forever, we want results. Once we have feedback from them, we shall put a closure to this matter,” said Nakhumicha.

Meanwhile, Nyakera said operations at Kemsa are going on smoothly at the authority, noting that all employees have reported back, following the CS's directive for them to do so.

“Individuals who were working from home are back in the office. Having them back will revamp efficiency and service delivery,” said Nyakera.

The more than 400 employees had been working from home since November 2021. The staff were asked to work from home to enable a restructuring at the authority following the Sh7.8 billion Covid-19 scandal.

Last week, the authority placed all the employees on performance contracts to ensure accountability and productivity.

Signing the performance contracts, Nyakera said, would also help implement Universal Health Coverage, a key agenda by the Kenya Kwanza government.

"Improving services at the authority will help in the implementation of the UHC agenda," Nyakera said adding there is a need to uphold ethical practices at the authority through performance evaluation.

“It is our responsibility, as Kemsa staff and management, to go beyond the call of duty and deliver medical supplies to all Kenyans with passion and commitment,” said the chairman.

In a lengthy media interview two weeks ago, President William Ruto assured Kenyans of his plan to ‘clean up’ the authority.

“Watch this space. What you have said is correct. I am doing something about it, and I do not want to speak about it now. You will see results,” said the President.

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