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New board for Kenya drug agency

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 6 – The Kenya Medical Supplies Agency now has a new 12-member board under the chairmanship of Ambassador Solomon Karanja after the previous one was dissolved mid last year following claims that it was not satisfactorily performing its duties.

Medical Services Minister Anyang’ Nyong’o said on Friday he was confident the new team would provide professional guidance to the management team and uphold good corporate governance.

“Last year I dissolved the previous board and appointed a Task Force to look into the affairs of KEMSA. One was on the issue of governance, today we are inaugurating the board of KEMSA and we think that it is going to deliver. In the meantime, the ministry will continue providing policy guidelines to the board,” he stated.

He also pointed out that the revision of the legal framework had enabled KEMSA to have a new board, but added that the only way to address weak provisions was by enacting an Act of Parliament for KEMSA.

“The KEMSA legal framework has now been reviewed under revised legal notice 54 of the year 2009 and published in the Kenya gazette. It is that framework under which this board was appointed. However we still have to introduce an Act of Parliament for KEMSA. In this regard I expect the new board will prioritise this urgent need in their agenda of activities,” he said.

Prof Nyong’o held that KEMSA required adequate funding for it to function efficiently and deliver the services required by Kenyans.

“The level of funding and flow of funds from the Treasury to KEMSA must be streamlined. This will definitely need concerted efforts between this board, my ministry and the Ministry of Finance,” he said.

He added that the capitalisation of KEMSA also demanded crucial attention to enable sustainability of the strategic agency and delivery of efficient and reliable services.

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“My ministry will play its role on the issue of KEMSA’s capitalisation and I call on this board to bring in its expertise and consult widely in order to conclude this critical need for KEMSA,” he stated. 

Prof Nyong’o observed that the body faced many challenges especially from parallel procurement systems and parallel distribution of medical supplies.

“These have mainly been propagated by development partners and other stakeholders in the health sector. This is not sustainable. The way forward for the public health sector is the integration of all supply chain activities and we must ensure that this is achieved,” he observed.

He stated that no government could fund its institutions 100 percent due to budgetary constraints and added that KEMSA would have to re-engineer itself and look into ways and means of generating additional revenue to supplement government funds saying that KEMSA needed to operate as a commercialised agency.

“It should be an agency that can offer its services not just to government but other entities as well at competitive prices. I am pleased to note that KEMSA’s management succeeded in coming up with a commercialisation plan in line with the Task Force proposal and recommendations of setting up a Strategic Business Unit. This unit will be a non profit making outfit but financially self sustaining,” he explained.

The newly appointed chairman said he was ready to take up the position and promised to curb corruption especially in matters of procurement.

“We appreciate that appointing the new board arose from the fact that the minister was dissatisfied with the last board and that should serve as a lesson to us in terms of carrying out our mandate. We certainly feel confident that we shall be able to deliver on what has been set as our task,” he said.

Other KEMSA board member include; Medical Services Permanent Secretary Prof James Kiyiapi, Public Health Permanent Secretary Mark Bor, Finance Permanent Secretary Joseph Kinyua, Attorney General Amos Wako, Dr Francis Kimani DMS, Dr John Munyu Chief Executive Officer KEMSA, Dr Cyprian Awiti, Florence Abich, Moses Ndungu, Charles Rigoro and Ruth Lelewu.

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