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New team: The men and women to clean up KEMSA mess

HEALTH & SCIENCEBy MERCY KAHENDA | Wed,May 05 2021 10:00:00 EAT
By MERCY KAHENDA | Wed,May 05 2021 10:00:00 EAT

 Mary Chao Mwadime, the new KEMSA Board Chair [Courtesy]

In what is seen as a bid to appease donor agencies, the government has moved to overhaul the board of the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (KEMSA) which had been hit by multiple scandals in the recent past.

President Uhuru Kenyatta revoked its entire board including the chair, Kembi Gitura, who was replaced by Mary Chao Mwadime.

In an exclusive interview with The Standard, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said the appointed members will bring a wealth of experience in various aspects that will make Kemsa a more transparent and efficient supplier of health products and commodities.

Other board members include Terry Kiunge Ramadhani, Lawrence Wahome, Dr Robert Nyarango and Linton Nyaga Kinyua. 

The restructuring follows a fallout between the government and donor agency, USAid over distribution of a consignment of Sh1.5 billion ARV drugs. USAid had indicated that it mistrusted Kemsa due to the scandals it faced in procuring Covid-19 supplies including PPEs and facemasks. Instead, USAID, the largest donor of HIV drugs in Kenya, hired a private entity to distribute the drugs.

The government in turn, treated the consignment as private cargo and slapped a hefty tax bill leading to an impasse and subsequent shortage of ARVs.

Overhauling the board was to win trust for Kemsa to continue handling importation of medicines, explained Kagwe.

 Dr Robert Nyarango appointed new KEMSA Board member. [Courtesy, Standard]

Board chairperson, Mary Mwadime is an acquisition specialist who has previously worked with USAid/Liberia Mission for four years prior to her current role as a consultant acquisition specialist at Excellence Always (XLA).

She served as a Chief Supplies Officer at the Kenyatta National Hospital for two years from 2002, chief supplies officer at the Kenya Railways Corporation, between July 1995 and September 2000.

Dr Robert Nyarango also appointed to the board is the current Chief Executive Officer of Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital since August 2016. The 46-year-old is a pharmacist by training and holds various other qualifications in management and leadership including an MBA in Strategic Management. 

Terry Ramadhani, another appointee is a Senior Director at the President’s Delivery Unit established in 2015 and the director, Human Resources and Global Organizational Change Lead for Electronic Health Records (EHR), a position she has held since February 2020. She has over 10 years' experience in human resource management.

 Terry Ramadhan appointed new KEMSA Board member. [Courtesy, Standard]

The fourth appointee, Captain (Rtd) Lawrence M Wahome, has 11 years in military leadership while serving in Kenya Air Force (KAF) in various positions with over 19 years’ experience in supply chain and logistics leadership across various sectors and regions with the UN-WFP in various countries.

Kinyua is a finance professional with over 26 years’ experience in various positions in finance spanning several organisations, both local and multinational such as in DHL Global International.

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