The Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) board has issued an appeal asking county governments to prioritize settlement of pending bills amounting to more than Ksh. 3.9 billion.

Recently, the KEMSA Board paid courtesy calls to the Kisumu, Kisii, Nyamira and Uasin Gishu county governments. The Board also engaged the National Assembly Committee on Health and the Development Partners for Health in Kenya (DPH-K). The DPH-K comprises stakeholders and representatives from the World Health Organisation, Global Fund, USAID, CDC, UNAIDS, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the World Bank.

At the meetings, Ms. Mary Mwadime, KEMSA Chairperson, reiterated that the authority was complying with a court order and had not declared any roles redundant nor handed over KEMSA’s leadership to external agencies.

Speaking when she addressed stakeholders in the Pharmaceutical sector and Medical Associations, Ms. Mwadime said the settlement of the bills would help accelerate reforms at the Authority.

“We have assured our stakeholders that our operations are proceeding on as usual and the Board and Core Management remain firmly in place. A dysfunctional KEMSA slows down healthcare delivery goals and is a liability to the envisaged positive national healthcare outcomes and the Board is committed to facilitating reforms to set the Authority on a recovery path. This will include structured engagements with several county governments to settle their outstanding bills amounting to more than Ksh. 6 billion,” she explained.

KMPDU Secretary-General Dr. Davji Bhimji expressed optimism that the Authority will undertake the envisaged reforms lawfully.

He said the Board had assured stakeholders and KPMDU members that due process would be followed and staff members will not be victimised.

Last week, KEMSA Board confirmed that operations had been sustained through the core management and staffing team amid company reforms. If necessary, the core KEMSA management team will be assisted by a multi-agency team drawn from public sector experts.

The multi-agency officers will be drawn from different public sectors including the Public Service Commission, State Corporations Advisory Committee (SCAC), Ministry of Health, Ministry of Public Service and Gender Affairs, and more.

The reforms at the Authority are part of the far-reaching recommendations outlined in several KEMSA restructuring reports. This includes the latest KEMSA Immediate Action Plan and Medium Term Reforms Working Committee (KIAPRWC) report.

KEMSA is also suffering from a developing debtor and creditor crisis and is currently owed Ksh. 6.4 billion by its clients, who are primarily county governments. The Authority owes its creditors Ksh. 4.5 billion and is operating at 170% above its approved staff establishment of three hundred and forty-one (341) with an estimated staff complement of 922.