, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 3 -The Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (KEMSA) is at an advanced stage of setting up a supplementary services division to help increase access to medical products.
According to the Minister for Medical Services Anyang Nyong’o, the venture is feasible as it will fill the gaps of KEMSA that the government cannot address.
The project that is meant to be implemented in three phases will be a non-profit making venture independent from the KEMSA mainstream operations.
“No Government can fund all its institutions 100 percent due to the obvious budgetary constraints. Currently there is a gap in the provision of medical supplies to the public health facilities in Kenya,” said Nyong’o.
“This will not only supplement KEMSA income but in addition it will greatly increase access to quality and affordable medical commodities. This commercial venture will open an opportunity for the public health facilities to access supplementary medical commodities,” added Nyong’o.
KEMSA CEO John Munyu said that phase one of the project will be funded by the World Bank to the tune of $8 million while phase two estimated to cost Sh800 million will be funded by money the board aims to obtain from the money markets.
The third and final phase is expected to be funded through a public private partnership from which KEMSA aims to raise Sh3.5 billion.
“It is going to run in phases… the first phase is already underway with the procurement of the necessary commodities and supplies. We expect the super medical store to be up and running in July and that its operations will be enhanced in about four months,” explained Munyu adding that KEMSA will stock medical supplies that are not available in the government supply system.
“The kind of procurements we do is huge and so leveraging on economies of scale we will be able to access commodities at competitive prices,” the CEO further stated.
Nyong’o who spoke at the launch of KEMSA’s strategic plan: 2011-2016 in Embakasi assured that the government was in the process of increasing access to health services at all levels.
He said that his ministry had put systems in place plans to revive the referral healthcare system to enhance its efficiency to confront diseases and reduce patient loads at tertiary level institutions.
The minister announced that the government had provided a five-acre piece of land on which KEMSA will build and operate a modern medical commodities warehouse to fix its constrained storage capacity.
“To ensure that the referral system works, we shall continue to hire more staff to man primary health institutions. The increase in trained staff at public health facilities also ensures that commodities that KEMSA is supplying to those facilities are used appropriately,” he emphasised.
During the launch, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) announced funding amounting to Sh900 million to support KEMSA strengthen its systems in order to guarantee efficient and effective service delivery to Kenyans.
The two year program aims to improve and strengthen inventory management, commodity tracking, warehousing and distribution as well as supporting KEMSA to develop and implement sustainable supply chain operations.