NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 29 – The Nairobi County Government is now seeking to purchase drugs from a different supplier and ditch the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority, citing frustrations.
This follows a public outcry due to lack of drugs in Nairobi County health facilities, as KEMSA stopped restocking the facilities due to a huge debt the county owes them amounting to Sh300 million.
Speaking at the launch of a human milk bank at the Pumwani Maternity Hospital on Friday, Sonko directed the county’s Health Department to work on getting a new supplier to put to an end the suffering Nairobi residents are going through.
“I want you to come up with a formula within a week on how we can buy drugs from elsewhere. I will not watch Nairobi residents suffer due to lack of drugs yet we have money and we can as well purchase them somewhere else,” said Sonko.
According to the governor, the county entered in an agreement with KEMSA last year that the county be paying Sh30 million a month and they continue being supplied with drugs, but that’s not case as the supplies have been stopped.
This was agreed so as to allow the pending bills committee to audit the huge debt.
Sonko further asked the Director of Criminal Investigations to probe the pending bills owed to KEMSA by the previous regime, alleging that the debt is not genuine and is aimed at fleecing the County.
The debt is said to have accrued since 2014 before the new administration came into place.
“These bills KEMSA wants us to pay are suspicious; already the pending bills committee is looking into them, the Auditor General is also on the case. I want the DCI to also investigate this issue because we are well informed that these drugs were sold and didn’t get to hospitals,” stated Sonko.
Last week, Nairobi Health Chief Executive Committee Mohamed Dagane told the County’s Health Committee that they last received drugs from KEMSA last August.
According to KEMSA, Nairobi is leading in debts owed to them by counties and that’s why they couldn’t supply them with drugs before the debt is settled.
KEMSA has an agreement with counties that requires the devolved governments to make payments within 45 days after delivery and normally suspends the accounts of those not in good books with the agency.