The government has moved in and overhauled the top leadership of the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA), bringing in a new team to oversee the body whose operations had been paralyzed by allegations of multiple corruption scandals in the midst of a global pandemic. The move is expected to restore confidence in the apex body entrusted with ensuring medical supplies in the country at a time the entire globe is grappling with a devastating coronavirus pandemic.
This change follows a damning report by the Auditor General over the processes of procurement of medical supplies and especially Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) for the medical personal at inflated prices and in disregard of procurement procedures and regulations.
The overhaul is aimed at ensuring that KEMSA continues to discharge its mandate effectively including availing critical medical supplies as the country grapples with the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
While appointing the new team, President Uhuru Kenyatta revoked the appointment of KEMSA’s previous board members, and appointed Mary Chao Mwadime as the Chair of the KEMSA Board of Directors.
Making the announcement in a Gazette Notice on April 28th effective from April 30th, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe stated that the new members have vast knowledge as well as experience in various aspects and are a good match for KEMSA and will be more transparent and efficient at the organization.
The restructuring came about following a major fallout between the agency and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which expressed mistrust of KEMSA over the distribution of antiretroviral (ARV) drugs worth Ksh.1.5 Billion.
USAID and KEMSA had a five-year contract that ended in 2020.USAID had indicated that it mistrusted KEMSA hence why it hired a private firm to distribute the drugs.