ODM leader Raila Odinga has said there is a need to restructure the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) and end its monopoly to improve health facilities in the country.
On matters concerning the country’s health human resources and infrastructure, Raila said in a statement today that the Covid-19 pandemic exposed loopholes in the health sector across county governments calling upon the strengthening of devolution.
Odinga added that the country needs to address the issue of monopoly in Kemsa which has been engulfed in scandals that is said to have caused Kenya a loss of about Sh2.3 billion.
“The recent unfortunate saga with Kemsa’s mismanagement of the purchase of commodities in the public health sector, including the so far inconclusive issue of the Covid billionaires must draw our attention to the wider need to clean up the governance and management of this state agency,” said Odinga.
The former Prime Minister recommended that Kemsa should be allowed to regain its efficiency by competing in the open market and providing pharmaceuticals and non-pharmaceutical to national and county government facilities at competitive market prices. He says that this will save the country from misfortunes of purchasing managed equipment services.
“That misadventure was itself a result of the monopolistic nature of Kemsa which leads to wastage and inefficiencies. With the rapid changes in technology, Kemsa should be going for equipment leasing instead of purchase.”
At the same time, Raila said there is need to continue training more health specialists as well as building specialist institutions such as referral facilities since the current Covid-19 pandemic has revealed the shortage of Human resources in the health sector.
“The present model where counties lose their workers who go for post-graduate work in national referral facilities while being paid by their counties is an exploitation of counties and is not sustainable. It depletes counties of vital human resources at a very high level.”