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Kemsa accuses counties in South Rift of failing to clear pending bills

By Mercy Kahenda | Published Mon, October 22nd 2018 at 00:00, Updated October 21st 2018 at 22:46 GMT +3
Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki (centre), Kemsa CEO Dr Jonah Manjari (left) and High Commissioner Suchitra Durai during handover of medicine worth Sh10 million from the Indian Government on 12 July 2018. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

A State medical agency has said Narok and Nakuru would not get drugs and medical supplies amid acute shortage reported in public hospitals.

Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (Kemsa) told The Standard in an interview last week that counties in the South and North Rift owed them millions in pending bills with no clear road map on how to settle them.

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Leading in the region include Narok with a pending bill of Sh104 million followed by Baringo with Sh82 million, Nakuru Sh71 million, Bomet Sh38 million and Laikipia with Sh34 million.

Eliud Muriithi, Kemsa commercial director, said some of the counties shall not be supplied with more drugs.

“Drugs will not be supplied to counties with pending bills and have not given payment plans,” said Mr Muriithi.

Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui said the pending bill was from the month of July and that his administration was doing all that is necessary to settle it.

Kemsa’s decision to hold supply of the drugs to some of the counties in the region means patients will continue to rely on private chemists.

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There have been cases in Baringo where health facilities lack even pain killers and patients are forced to purchase them from chemists.

The agency has further accused Narok County leadership of sourcing for an alternative supplier as a way of avoiding to clear debts.

Kemsa regional sales and marketing executive, Dr Kenneth Bukachi, said instead of offsetting the bill, the county has sourced for a private company that is now supplying essential medical and medicine supplies.

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“Instead of offsetting the bill the county has sourced for a private medical supplier for drugs and medical items like gloves, cotton wool among other stuff,” said Dr Bukachi.

Bukachi, however, observed that it was not a must for counties to get medicine from Kemsa, but can source for alternative supplier.

“Counties should be able to give the picture of pharmacists and who their supplier either from local suppliers and other agencies,” he said.

Kemsa said Nyandarua and Kericho counties were among best counties in procurement and payment for supply of pharmaceuticals and non-pharmaceuticals.

Nyandarua does not owe Kemsa any debt, while Kericho has pending bill of only Sh12,000.

 Baringo Chief Officer Public Health Dr Winnie Bore said the county has negotiated with Kemsa to continue supplying drugs.

“We do not have a problem with Kemsa. It is still our main supplier of medicine and non-medical stuff,” Dr said Bora.

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