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Counties owe Kemsa over Sh2.6bn for drugs

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Counties owe the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency more than Sh2.6 billion for medicines and other pharmaceutical products.

The agency’s acting chief executive Fred Wanyonyi said the debts have been accrued from the last financial year, adding that he planned to talk to the governors on how to sort out the issue.

Mr Wanyonyi said a number of counties were newly-installed in office and required time to obtain funds after the supplementary budgets have been submitted to the Treasury and approved.

He was hopeful the debts would be settled once the funds for those budgets were disbursed.

“Some of the governments are still new to their offices and are adjusting to the workings of devolved governance.

“We also know that supplementary budgets will be done in March and once Treasury avails the funds, it is our hope that most of these debts will be substantially reduced,”  he said.

The agency has a supply stock worth Sh13.5 billion, he said, adding that this was enough to keep the public and about 6,0000 hospitals supplied adequately.

He spoke on Friday during a visit to the agency’s offices at Embakasi, Nairobi, by new Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki who was on a familiarisation tour of the facility.

“I am going to speak to the governors about the need to pay the monies owed and also whether a percentage of total resources allocated require to be earmarked for health.

“This will enable the devolved units to more effectively implement the programmes set aside for health through the proper use of allocated funds,” she said.

She said the agency had automated its business processes and systems and that its transformation would help the government achieve President Uhuru Kenyatta’s pledge of universal healthcare.

Mr Wanyonyi said Kemsa is in consultations with the regional governments on the medicines and pharmaceutical supplies they require to avoid wastage.

The Government last year destroyed 65,000 kilogrammes of unused and expired drugs in an exercise overseen by the Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya and the Pharmacy and Poisons Board.