Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe on Wednesday, November 11, disclosed that he had ordered the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) to sell PPEs and masks at the current market prices.
While appearing before the Senate Health Committee, the CS directed the supplier of the medical items to supply the products to the counties at the current prices.
“I have written to KEMSA to allow them to release masks and PPEs at the current market rate instead of holding them,” he stated.
A Kemsa warehouse in Nairobi.
The items which were procured by KEMSA ended up being dead stock when it bought them at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic at exorbitant prices only for the costs to drop later.
KEMSA had in September 2020, sought a directive from the cabinet to clear the commodities worth Ksh6.2 billion that were lying idle in their warehouses.
The authority projected that upon clearing the stock at a throw-away price as compared to how much they had bought the taxpayers would lose close to Ksh2.3 Billion
The Senate committee found that the agency over procured the items at the height of the pandemic.
Already several top officials are under investigation over the allegations of misappropriation of monies at Kemsa.
A report by Auditor General Nancy Gathungu, showed that KEMSA illegally and irregularly diverted monies meant for UHC to purchase Covid-19 items without approval of the Ministry of Health.
In an effort to enhance transparency in the agency, President Uhuru Kenyatta directed the agency to make public all of their tenders.
“I also hereby direct that the Ministry of Health within the next 30 days must come up with a transparent, open method and mechanism through which all tenders and procurement done by KEMSA are available online so that we can see who has been awarded a tender,” Kenyatta directed.
At the same time, counties are appealing for PPEs as Covid-19 infections continue to increase in the country.
A medical practitioner dressed in protective gear at the Coronavirus isolation and treatment facility in Mbagathi District Hospital on Friday, March 6, 2020.
There have been reports of county hospitals being overrun by patients of the disease.
Already 22 health workers have lost their lives to Covid-19 while as many as 2,011 others have been infected.