Kenya: City Hall Sets Aside Sh374.9 Million to Clear Kemsa Debt

City Hall has set aside Sh374.9million to clear the debt owed to the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa).

The move aims to end the almost three-year row between City Hall and the authority, which has seen county health facilities suffer perennial drug shortages.

County Assembly Budget and Appropriations Committee chair Robert Mbatia said the payment of the entire debt will ensure drugs are supplied to all health facilities in good time.

"There has been a problem getting drug supplies from Kemsa because of the outstanding bill. But since this debt will now be paid in full, drugs will now be supplied to all our facilities," said Mr Mbatia.

Kemsa and the Nairobi County government have been embroiled in a tussle over the debt since 2017. That year, Kemsa stopped supplying county hospitals over a Sh285 million debt.

Other drug suppliers

It took the intervention of President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki for Kemsa to resume supplies.

But the tussle arose again in 2019 when former Governor Mike Sonko announced his administration was considering turning to other drug suppliers, accusing Kemsa of being unreliable.

However, in October, 2020, City Hall paid Sh166.9 million to the agency to offset part of the then Sh353 million debt.

This is after Kemsa revealed that out of Sh2.8 billion owed to it by seven counties, Nairobi topped the list.

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