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Kagwe snubs calls to quit over PPE tender probe

Health & ScienceBy Kevine Omollo And Anne Atieno | Mon,Aug 10 2020 00:00:00 UTC | 2 min read

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe will not step aside even with investigations into a multi-billion shilling Covid-19 Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) tender continues.

Kagwe acknowledged that there was an ongoing probe, but termed the calls for his resignation a pipe dream.

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission has confirmed probe of top officials at Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) in relation to a controversial Sh7.7 billion tender for the emergency procurement. There have been calls for the CS to take personal responsibility and step aside.

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“We are aware of the investigations. Some started before I was there and anybody thinking that I will resign can dream on,” said Kagwe.

He, however, did not defend anyone in the alleged graft.

KEMSA has denied corruption in the tendering process and said direct procurement of the PPEs was due to circumstances prevailing at the time.

Kagwe, who has been in a tour of western Kenya, yesterday made his Covid-19 briefing from Kisumu. The country recorded 599 new cases, bringing the total number of infections to 26,436.

The latest positive cases were from 4,420 samples tested within 24 hours. The total number of tests done in the country so far is 353,727.

Six of those who tested positive were foreign nationals and the rest Kenyans. Kagwe expressed concern that the rate of infections among men was higher than that of women. Yesterday's cases comprised 373 male and 226 females, with the youngest being one-year-old and the oldest 82.

The country recorded its highest number of recoveries in a single day, with 1,062 patients having been discharged. The total number of recoveries now stands at 12,961. Of those discharged, 79 were from health facilities, and the rest on home-based care. Two more people died, bringing the total number of Covid-19 related deaths to 420.

Kagwe urged health workers to be considerate and embrace dialogue to end strike threats resulting from delayed pay. He said some of the delays were not intentional, and sought understanding of the current situation.

“You are already a soldier in the front-line, and when those circumstances and challenges come, think about the patients, think about the relatives they leave behind and the suffering that your actions may cause Kenyans,” said Kagwe.

Health workers in Kisumu, Siaya and Homa Bay counties have issued strike notices due to pay delays.

The CS commended Kisumu County's efforts to technologically fight the disease through creation of a bulk SMS, contact tracing application and a call centre for reporting suspected Covid-19 cases, in collaboration with Maseno University.

The CS accompanied by Education's Prof George Magoha, Acting Director General of Health Dr Patrick Amoth, Kisumu Governor Prof Anyang’ Nyong’o, his deputy Dr Mathews Owili and MPs Jared Okello (Nyando), James Nyikal (Seme), Aduma Owuor (Nyakach) and Shakeel Shabbir (Kisumu East). 

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