Kenyans stand to win big following the signing of the largest bilateral deal between the Government and the United States.
The Sh65 billion (USD650 million) agreement on the health sector sealed Monday by the US and Kenyan governments will enable the country acquire lifesaving drugs for HIV and Aids and malaria patients.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAid) contracted Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (Kemsa) to buy and supply lifesaving medicine and commodities across the country.
“The authority will procure and distribute these medical supplies directly. And as a result, millions of Kenyans will receive high-quality medicine and treatment faster and more efficiently,” said US Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec.
“The USAid-Kemsa Medical Commodities Programme is a ground-breaking new partnership. Kemsa will use the money to procure, store and distribute HIV and Aids and malaria test kits and medications, contraceptives, and maternal and child-health equipment,” he added.
But Mr Godec warned his government would closely monitor how the funds would be used through audits.
“Under the new contract, Kemsa will be audited and each expenditure will be agreed upon and approved in advance by a US contracting officer. Each and every sub-contract Kemsa awards will also be approved by USAid. To sum it up, and to paraphrase a former American President, we will “trust but verify,” he said.
“In recent years, one of our most important goals is to realise a world free of HIV and Aids and malaria.
And the historic nature of the agreement launched today brings us closer to the realisation of our goal,” he observed at Kemsa headquarters in Nairobi.
Health Permanent Secretary Khadijah Kassachoon, who represented Cabinet Secretary James Macharia, thanked the US Government for having confidence to invest the huge amount of money in Kemsa, and exuded confidence that the agency would put the funds to good use.
“Kemsa has fully automated its purchase and supply systems and it aligns its functions to international best practices. The funds from the US Government will be used for the intended purposes,” she affirmed.
Kemsa Chief Executive John Munyu said they would do what is expected of them and even exceed the expectation of the donors.
“This award affirms Kemsa’s determination to be the supplier of choice. We have worked on our internal structures and there is no way we will let the US Government down. Kenyans will feel this deal’s impact,” he said.