At least 19 counties will benefit from the opening of Kisumu depot by the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa).
The depot, which cost the authority Sh27 million, is expected to reduce the turnaround time on procurement of drugs and medical supplies by approximately 40 per cent, according to Kemsa boss Jonah Manjari.
Dr Manjari said the move would also reduce the order turnaround time from the current seven to four days. He said the operationalisation was in readiness for the roll-out of Universal Health Coverage (UHC), which will enable the agency to supply medical products with ease.
"This expansion has been necessitated by the growing demand to decentralise our services in order to server and satisfy our customers," stated Manjari.
The depot will serve facilities in Nyanza, Western and North Rift regions. Some of the counties that will benefit are Siaya, Vihiga, Homa Bay, Kisii, Kakamega, Bungoma, Kisumu and Baringo.
Following the operationalisation, Kemsa is set to start distribution of select health products, including Anti-Retroviral drugs (ARVs) and tuberculosis medicines.
About 49.5 per cent of all ARVs and TB commodities are distributed to Nyanza and Western regions, said the Kemsa boss.
Manjari said while the first phase of the expansion project cost Sh27 million, the second one was expected to cost about Sh45 million.
He observed that under UHC, Kemsa was required to achieve 100 per cent order fill rate, as this project is an enabler towards that goal.
"We will work closely with county governments to make their drawing rights a reality," said Manjari.
The CEO envisions Kemsa becoming a centre of excellence that is able to serve the region and get into strategic partnerships to fulfill its mandate.
The Kemsa boss assured that the authority would continue to collaborate with relevant agencies. Kemsa Operations Director Edward Njoroge said the pilot phase would assess the systems to vet their efficiency.
"We thrive under pressure and it is exciting to test our ability and capacity to supply efficiently," he said.
Njoroge said the authority had beefed up transport and increased staffing to cope with the expected pressure.