The Board of the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) has confirm that the Authority is implementing reforms to position it as an effective player in the local healthcare system.

As an institution, KEMSA is mandated to undertake roles and responsibilities to ensure supply chain excellence for Health Products and Technologies (HPTs). Currently, KEMSA serves over 8,000 health facilities from the Embakasi National Supply Chain Centre complemented by an additional devolved network of 11 warehouses. 4 are in Nairobi and 7 spread across the towns of Eldoret, Kakamega, Kisumu, Meru, Mombasa, Nakuru and Nyeri.

These facilities provide last-mile delivery services for our national medical supplies serving communities across the country.

In early July, a multi-agency Taskforce was formed to provide an independent operating recovery strategy for KEMSA to facilitate organizational effectiveness. The KEMSA Immediate Action Plan and Medium-Term Reforms Working Committee (KIAPRWC) comprised a panel of local public service administration experts backed by international counterparts drawn from the World Bank and the Africa Resource Centre.

KIAPRWC is tasked with the following responsibilities.

  1. Review the current organizational structure to determine its efficacy.
  2. Review current staff establishment and staffing norms.
  3. Establish if the current career guidelines were responsive to the current client needs and mandate of KEMSA.
  4. Determine whether the current HR policy and procedures were properly attuned to the Constitution, Labour Laws and other relevant legislation.
  5. Assess prospective modalities for the reorganization of KEMSA to meet its mandate, current challenges and demands of clients.
  6. To review the KEMSA Reforms Implementation Committee (KRIC) reports and take into account the immediate action report thereof.

The Committee has presented a detailed report to the Board, revealing challenges in critical functions within the Authority that deserve to be addressed. The challenges identified in the report confirm that KEMSA is currently grossly underperforming and largely unable to meet clients’ urgent needs, particularly the delivery of essential Medicines and Products to the Counties, Referral Hospitals and Programs. This has endangered the lives of Kenyans and is gravely threatening the realization of Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

The key challenges are divided into 4 categories.

1. Financial Crisis: This is manifest through lack of Financial Controls, with a Debt Crisis arising from structures that are not optimized to collect.
2. Supply chain Crisis: This has led to a low Order Fill Rate and a High Turn Around Time (TAT)
3. Warehousing and Distribution Chaos: This is manifest through deadstock, Purchase of non-priority items and Poor optimization of distribution models.
4. Procurement chaos: We experience Long Lead Times as a result of operating inefficiencies.
After a review of the report, the Board holds that these challenges will require further review of KEMSA around three key areas:

To this end, the Board has committed to ensure a smooth review and has put the following support measures.

  • Continuous staff engagement and consultations within the next 30 days. Communication of internal meeting schedules and communication with staff via official channels and through supervisors.
  • Commitment to inclusivity- All staff will be engaged and appraised throughout the notice period.
  • Psychosocial support – The necessary counselling and psychological support will be availed to all staff.

KEMSA staff, management, and other operating partners have likewise committed to support the envisaged reforms.