, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 24 – Only three counties out of 47 have declined to sign the Managed Equipment Services project for the supply of medical equipment by the National government, Health CS James Macharia has disclosed.
The three are Bomet, Kakamega and Garissa counties.
While updating the National Assembly Health Committee chaired by Kitui south MP Rachel Nyamai over the progress of implementation, Macharia explained that the resistance by most of Governors had delayed the process which had now picked up pace.
“We are basically proceeding with our project with the exception of those three counties because as per the constitution we require their concurrence by signing the MoU – so we will not go to those counties,” said Macharia.
He said project implementation was on course and had been rolled out countrywide with some soon to be completed.
Endebess MP Robert Pukose sought to find out how much had been paid so far and what were the details of the contract with his counterpart Matungulu MP Stephen Mule questioning whether there was value for money in the project as it emerged that some counties had resorted to the old ways of providing services due to the high cost of operation.
“The first instalment is due next month. What they are doing is out of goodwill. We just paid Sh2billion to ensure work begins in the 96 hospitals but in terms of payment of services provided, no money has been paid,” said Macharia.
The committee also sought to find out whether the contractors were required to deliver consumables which are used with the machines and which were costing the counties lots of money.
“For five months some equipment for instance x-ray and renal facilities have not been used because there are no consumables… was the contractor supposed to provide the consumables?” posed Pukose.
He cited Machakos Level Five hospital which the committee visited and learnt that some of the machines were not operational questioning the need to pay for a service that was not being delivered.
“In Machakos, machines supplied have been abandoned because of no consumables, the hospitals say they are expensive,” revealed Mule whose sentiments were reiterated by Seme MP James Nyikal who warned that the country will end up having well equipped hospitals with no consumable and thus unable to provide the much needed service to the people.
Macharia admitted that they noted the issue in Machakos but maintained that consumables were not part of the deal.
“The consumables are not in the contract, this is where the county governments come in. it is like telling the contractor to pay for electricity! There is some obligations for the counties,” said Macharia.
He said plans were in place to avoid a total shut down of the facilities to give short-term solutions to ensure the services required are offered.
MPs were however not satisfied asking why it was necessary to get the facilities on contract yet they could have easily been bought at cheaper prices if the suppliers were not providing everything.
“Renal dialysis is a valid issue, that we are looking at but for the other machines they do not need the consumables,” said Macharia.
The ministry said the supplier was only supposed to provide start-up kits then the counties would purchase the rest on their own.
The committee resolved to hold a separate to meeting to get clearer details of the contract and its viability and whether there was need to review the terms.