Disburse money for health or UHC won’t succeed: Kemsa

Inadequate funds could undermine the universal health coverage programme that is to be launched this week, the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) has warned.

Jonah Mwangi from the agency appealed to the National Treasury to release funds meant for the project to enable Kemsa to purchase medicines and other equipment for hospitals in the four targeted counties.

“We are supposed to get Sh1.6 billion for this programme. If we fail to get it, we will fail in our mandate,” Dr Mwangi said yesterday during a universal health coverage (UHC) roundtable meeting in Nairobi.

He said Kemsa had been using money given by the World Bank but it was now depleted.

SEE ALSO :Kemsa to withhold supplies over debt

“The World Bank gave us Sh4 billion in 2013 out of which Sh2.6 billion went to the counties,” Mwangi said.

He explained that the money was needed to buy essential medicines for tuberculosis, HIV/Aids, family planning, nutrition and medical supplies.

Special drugs

“We also want to buy special drugs for non-communicable diseases like diabetes and asthma, mental illnesses and anti-snake venom,” Mwangi said.

He observed that the country needed sufficient supplies of anti-snake venom because the World Health Organisation had identified 11 breeds of venomous snakes in Kenya.

SEE ALSO :Medical board upholds Kemsa’s choice on ARVs tender

However, the official said the agency was ready to distribute drugs and other products to Kisumu, Machakos, Nyeri and Isiolo, where the UHC pilot project will be launched on Thursday.

“Yesterday we dispatched lorries with the drugs to Isiolo due to its vastness so that its 39 public health facilities can get them on time. We will do the same for 168 facilities in Machakos, 132 in Kisumu and 126 in Nyeri,” Mwangi said, adding that Kemsa offered 585 products and was planning to introduce 15 more.

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Kenya Medical Supplies AuthorityNational Treasuryuniversal health coverage