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Blow for KEMSA as senate passes bill

Post by : Ann Njambuya

KEMSA warehouse in Embakasi

KEMSA(Kenya Medical supplies Authority) has suffered a major blow after the senate passed a bill that seeks to limit its powers in procurement and supply of medical equipment and drugs to counties.

County Governments through the Council of governors has been crying foul over KEMSA since the inception of devolution in the country. The medical supplies Agency was formed in 2013 through an act of parliament. it was placed  under the ministry of health.

The Authority was given the absolute powers to supply all medical equipment and drugs to all county health facilities that are publicly owned. due to bureaucracy and corruption the counties have been having drug and equipment shortage which has been attributed to KEMSA poor working relations with the counties.

The bill which has been sponsored by nominated Senator Naomi Shiyonga seeks to remove the monopoly that KEMSA currently enjoys. This will open a door for private firms in the drug business.

KEMSA warehouse in Embakasi
Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) warehouse in Embakasi, Nairobi 

With counties able to purchase drugs from private firms who are considered profit oriented hence they have better management structures Kenyans might enjoy an influx in medicine and drugs at public hospitals. However, the authority’s sales are set to take a downward pace as it will lose most of its customers.

With amendment to the bill passed in the senate, it waits its approval from the national assembly from where it will be assented into law by the president. The amendment if signed into law will open doors for the private sector which had been hinder from operating with the counties. This shift will in return lead to the provision of new jobs to hundreds if not thousands of Kenyans.

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