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Kemsa resumes supplies to Kakamega County

By Benard Lusigi | May 7th 2021
Kemsa Customer Care Manager Geoffrey Mwagwi (R) and Kenya Treatment Access Movement (KETAM) Chief Executive Officer James Kamau flag off ARVs worth Kshs. 2.2 billion on April 22, 2021. [ Jenipher Wachie, Standard]

Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) delivered drugs and other medical supplies worth Sh87 million to Kakamega County on Thursday after the government settled a substantial part of the money it owes the agency.

Heath executive Collins Matemba said the authority resumed supplies to Kakamega after the county government paid Sh164 million of the Sh173 million it owes Kemsa.

The minister said the county was unable to clear the debt on time because of the National Treasury's delay in disbursing funds to counties.

"The remaining Sh9 million will be cleared in the next disbursement. In the meantime, delivery of supplies by Kemsa is going on," Dr Matemba told The Standard.

The last time Kemsa supplied drugs to the county with medical equipment and drugs was in June last year as the standoff between authority and the county government over the debt threatened health services in the region.

By February, all the 47 counties owed Kemsa a total of Sh2.5 billion for supplies.

"Kemsa agreed to resume supplies to the county after the government cleared a huge part of the debt. It has been hard for our hospitals to attend to patients due to a shortage of drugs and other medical supplies. Things have particularly been tough, especially at this time we are fighting Covid-19," said Dr Matemba.

Officials of the Kemsa board, while on a tour of the county in February, complained the huge debt had affected the agency's operations.

Matemba said the resumption of supplies by Kemsa has come as a relief to the residents as well as the county administration. "We cannot offer health services without medicines and other medical supplies. This is a major boost to our health department."

He said the supplies will be distributed to Level Four, Level Three and Level Two hospitals as well as county clinics across the 12 sub-counties.

Medicines in the new consignment will cost Sh59 million while the rest of the money will go towards the purchase of non-pharmaceutical supplies, according to Matemba.

“Since the last financial year, we have never received any drugs and medical supplies from Kemsa. We have been relying on the stocks we acquired during the 2019/2020,” fiscal year," said Matemba.

"Cash flow challenges affected many activities including delivery of health services in our hospitals. Kemsa's policy is that they cannot continue supplies if there is a debt."

The county pharmacist director Linet Elamenya said they experienced a shortage of diabetes, hypertension and painkiller drugs.

“There was scarcity of particular drugs and non-pharmaceutical supplies across hospitals and clinics."

The health facilities also lacked gloves and reagents among other items but Dr Elamenya said that is now a thing of the past as Kemsa is set to deliver the consignment.

Elsewhere, the County STI and AIDS programme director Mike Ekisa said they have enough antiretroviral drugs.

Dr Ekisa said available antiretroviral drugs will sustain at least 45,230 people living with HIV/AIDS in the county.

"We have enough ARVs which have been stocked in 184 clinics across the county for ease of access by patients," said Ekisa.


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