The Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) has taken significant steps to address corruption and improve its operations. In a press conference held on Monday, Irungu Nyakera, the newly appointed board chairman, outlined a series of measures aimed at ensuring efficiency, transparency, and integrity within the organization.

To enhance procurement processes and supply chain management, KEMSA has decided to revoke the current list of pre-qualified suppliers. This step will allow for a fresh and objective evaluation to ensure that only companies providing value for money are pre-qualified. The decision to revoke the list comes in the wake of a scandal involving the misappropriation of Sh3.7 billion from the Global Fund for mosquito nets, which led to the dismissal of Terry Ramadhan, the former Chief Executive Officer, and Health Principal Secretary Josephine Mburu.

The new board acknowledges the urgent need for change within KEMSA, which has been marred by a Sh7 billion Covid-19 pandemic scandal that resulted in the removal of CEO Jonah Manjari. In response to these challenges, the board has unveiled a comprehensive plan that focuses on eradicating corruption, improving governance, recapitalizing the institution, strengthening relationships with strategic partners, redefining engagement with County governments, and uplifting staff morale and productivity.

The board has committed to thoroughly investigating allegations of corruption and holding those responsible accountable for their actions. Close collaboration with relevant authorities will ensure a fair and transparent investigation that upholds the principles of justice. The following reforms are currently being implemented by the new board:

  1. Procurement Processes:
    • The list of pre-qualified suppliers has been revoked.
    • Ongoing contracts procured through single sourcing and monopoly action, which prove to be costly to the institution and lack value for money, will be reviewed and forwarded to the PPRA (Public Procurement Regulatory Authority) and the EACC (Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission) for investigation.
    • Framework contracts will be reviewed to eliminate single sourcing, cartelization, and monopoly action. Items procured under framework contracts will henceforth follow standard, transparent procurement practices.
    • The lotting system will be introduced to promote healthy competition in procurement, preventing a single bidder from winning contracts beyond a specified financial limit. This measure aims to diffuse vested interests and racketeering, ensuring value for money for the public.
  2. Digitalization:
    • KEMSA will acquire and implement a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system within six months from June 5. This system will establish interconnectivity within the organization, improving accountability among decision-makers and increasing operational efficiency.
  3. Enhanced Financial Control:
    • Stricter financial controls, regular audits, and risk assessments will be implemented to detect and prevent potential irregularities.
    • An extensive review of operational processes will be conducted to identify areas for optimization. By streamlining workflows, implementing cost-effective measures, and leveraging technology, KEMSA aims to reduce operational expenses while ensuring a consistent supply of essential medical products to healthcare facilities nationwide.
  4. Human Resource:
    • A comprehensive review and audit of the organization’s human capital will be conducted within four weeks. This process will assess staff needs and validate documents to retain qualified personnel and redeploy them according to departmental requirements. Contract staff who do not meet the institution’s requirements will not have their contracts renewed.
    • Staff recruitment will be frozen, and staff travel will be scaled down to reallocate the budget towards prioritizing KEMSA’s role in Universal Healthcare. All staff will be placed on performance contracts tied to their roles and responsibilities.
    • Programs will be implemented to improve staff morale, enhance professional development opportunities, and create a conducive work environment that fosters teamwork, innovation, and excellence. Open channels of communication will be established to actively listen to employees’ concerns and suggestions.
  5. Operational Efficiency:
    • Dead and slow-moving stock will be eliminated by prioritizing the procurement of Vital Supplies, Tracer Items, and Class A products urgently needed and regularly used in end-user health facilities.
    • Collaboration with the Chair of the Council of Governors will be sought to process outstanding payments owed by counties to KEMSA. Joint efforts will be made to develop a system that identifies individual county needs and orders, enabling KEMSA to plan ahead and stock the necessary Tracer Items and Class A products to meet the respective demands.
    • KEMSA aims to recapitalize by selling off slow-moving stock, seeking resources from the Ministry of Health, and working with development partners to ensure the institution’s effective functioning.
    • The PPRA will be invited to conduct an audit of KEMSA’s procurement processes and propose improvements that can institutionalize best practices. These measures will enhance efficiency and cost-savings for the public through all future procurement by KEMSA.

By implementing these reforms, KEMSA is hoping to restore public trust, improve transparency, and eradicate corruption. The new board is committed to ensuring the delivery of quality medical supplies to healthcare facilities across the country while maintaining the highest standards of accountability and integrity.