Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) board chairperson Mary Mwadime.

Kenya’s drugs supply agency, Kemsa, is demanding more than Kes3.9 billion in unpaid bills from county governments.

The Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) board chairperson Mary Mwadime said the payment would help accelerate ongoing reforms at the agency.

Speaking when she addressed stakeholders in the pharmaceutical sector and medical associations, Ms Mwadime said the board would reform the authority in strict compliance to due process and labour laws.

Early this month, Kemsa board sent home all staff as part of changes needed to help turnaround the agency, which has been fighting graft accusations following suspect procurement of Covid-19 related supplies worth billions of shillings.

The agency staff were ordered to start working from home for a month as the military and personnel from the National Youth Service took over operations.

A week ago, however, the Employment and Labour Relations Court in Nairobi temporarily stopped the Kemsa from enlisting the military.

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In recent weeks, Kemsa has met the Senate and leaders from Kisumu, Kisii, Nyamira and Uasin Gishu counties where Ms Mwadime noted that the authority had not declared any roles redundant nor handed over operations to external agencies.

“We have assured our stakeholders that our operations are proceeding on as usual and the board and core management remain firmly in place,” she said.

“We have been assured that the role of professional stakeholders in the healthcare value chain will be mainstreamed in the reform agenda. We are ready to engage with Kemsa to ensure efficient supply of drugs and other items from Kemsa stores to health facilities,” KMPDU Secretary-General Dr Davji Bhimji said.

Last week, Kemsa board noted that operations had been sustained through the core management and staffing team, which will be assisted by a multi-agency team drawn from public sector experts if the need arises.

The multi-agency officers will be drawn from the Public Service Commission, State Corporations Advisory Committee, Ministries of Health, Public Service and Gender Affairs, Information, Communication, Technology and Youth Affairs, Defence, The National Treasury and that of Interior and Coordination of National Government among others.

The latest Kemsa immediate action plan and medium term reforms working committee report revealed that the agency is grossly underperforming and largely unable to meet clients’ needs, particularly the delivery of medicines and products to the counties.

The survey showed that order fulfillment was at 18 percent against a target of over 90 percent with order turn-around time is an average of 46 days.

Kemsa is also suffering from a debtor and creditor crisis and is currently owed roughly Kes6.4 billion by its clients, who are primarily county governments.

On the other hand, the authority owes its creditors Kes4.5 billion and is operating at 170 per cent above its approved staff establishment of 341 with an estimated staff complement of 922.

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