Kenya: Kemsa Distances Itself From Nms, City Hall Drug Shortage

17 September 2021

The Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) has distanced itself from the ongoing shortage of essential drugs in health facilities in Nairobi, saying it is yet to receive any request for medical supplies from either City Hall or the Nairobi Metropolitan Services.

This even as the authority said it is owed in excess of Sh383 million in pending bills for medical supplies to Nairobi County health centres and hospitals.

Kemsa acting commercial director George Walukana said they can only supply what has been requisitioned by their clients, adding that the last local purchase order (LPO) from the two entities was in March 2020 and whose deliveries were made in April 2020.

"However, we have not received any request or local purchase order from the Nairobi County Government or NMS requisitioning any supplies as of this morning," Dr Walukana said Thursday.

He explained that county health facilities order and pay for their medical commodities on a demand driven model known as "the supermarket model" where order placement is carried out on the Logistics Management Information System (LMIS).

Revolving fund

The money paid by the county governments then goes to a revolving fund that facilitates the authority to sustain its supply chain, using the fund to replenish its stocks once the counties pay Kemsa for supplies as per their requests.

In May, Nairobi County Assembly, through a supplementary budget, allocated Sh374.9 million towards payment of all outstanding debts owed to Kemsa. However, it is not clear where the money went to as the assembly's Budget and Appropriation Committee Chairperson Robert Mbatia says City Hall verbally told them they had paid the money to Kemsa but are yet to provide documentation.

On Wednesday, NMS Director of Health Services Ouma Oluga said NMS cleared any outstanding bills it owed Kemsa and the temporary shortage was due a delay in delivery.

But Dr Walukana clarified that they have received only Sh59.1 million from NMS and that the money was for supply of Covid-19 related items.

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