What we should do to rebuild trust in Kemsa

Chairman at Kenya Medical Supplies Authority, Irungu Nyakera. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

In the wake of numerous challenges that have plagued the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa), a new era dawns as a fresh board, under new leadership, takes the reins.

The board acknowledges the pressing need for change within the organisation. As the newly appointed chairman, I am committed to steering this critical organisation towards transparency, accountability and operational excellence.

We have unveiled a comprehensive plan to eradicate corruption, enhance good governance and recapitalise the institution.

Over the past months, Kemsa has faced significant challenges that have undermined public trust. We recognise the impact this has had on the perception of our organisation, and take these concerns seriously. The board is committed to investigating allegations of corruption and holding those responsible accountable. We are collaborating with relevant authorities to ensure a thorough and impartial investigation that upholds principles of justice and transparency.

The need for reform at Kemsa is urgent and imperative. Past mismanagement and corruption allegations have tarnished our reputation, eroding public trust and compromising our ability to fulfill our mandate. As we move forward, we will address areas of concern, starting with procurement, financial management and staff integrity.

Procurement has been a focal point of criticism, with allegations of irregularities and favouritism in awarding of contracts. To rectify this, the new board will implement robust procurement reforms that emphasize transparency, competitive bidding processes, and strict adherence to ethical standards.

We will ensure every procurement decision is based on merit, value for money, and the best interest of Kenyans. The board will invite the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) to do an audit of Kemsa's procurement processes and give proposals of how improvements can be made to institutionalise best-practice as standard and thereby ensure efficiency and cost-savings to mwananchi through all Kemsa's procurement.
The board will also review all framework contracts to eradicate single sourcing, cartelisation and monopoly action and ensure that items procured under framework contracting are henceforth procured under standard, transparent procurement practices.

Under the new board's guidance, we will implement stringent financial oversight mechanisms, including regular audits, improved reporting systems, and internal control frameworks.

Staff integrity is a cornerstone of any successful organisation, and Kemsa is no exception. We are committed to review and audit the human capital within four weeks through a staff needs assessment and document validation with a view to retaining qualified staff and redeploying them in line with departmental needs.

Staff on contract who cannot meet requirements of the institution will not have their contracts renewed. We also recognise that motivated and engaged employees are essential for achieving our goals. To this end, we are implementing comprehensive programmes to improve staff morale, enhance their professional development opportunities, and create a conducive work environment that fosters teamwork, innovation, and excellence. We will actively listen to our employees' concerns and suggestions and create channels for open communication.

To enhance operational efficiency, we will eliminate accumulation of dead and slow moving stock by prioritising the procurement of Vital Supplies, Tracer Items and Class A products that are urgently required by and regularly utilised in end-user health facilities.

The board is committed to effecting meaningful and lasting change. We acknowledge the challenges ahead. We are under no illusions of the magnitude of the task ahead and the challenges.

-The writer Chairman at Kenya Medical Supplies Authority

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