Mombasa — Nairobi and Homa Bay counties are leading with the highest debts owed to the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA).
KEMSA Chief Executive Officer Dr. Andrew Mulwa said in total, eight counties are yet to settle outstanding debts for medical commodities supplied and have already exceeded the 45-day credit period specified by the authority.
Top on the list is Nairobi County with Sh243 million followed by Homa Bay County which owe KEMSA Sh104 million.
Others that have defaulted on their payments include Busia (Sh82 million), Nakuru (Sh53 million), Trans Nzoia (Sh49 million), Kisumu (Sh35 million), Mombasa (Sh13.6 million), and Nyamira (Sh9 million).
“We are actively engaging these counties to pay,” Dr Mulwa told Editors at a retreat in Mombasa on Thursday.
“In discussions held with media editors, Kemsa’s acting CEO, Dr. Andrew Mulwa, revealed that ongoing negotiations between the authority and county governors are underway. “We are hopeful because the governors have expressed their commitment to settling these outstanding debts.”
Beyond the financial challenges stemming from unpaid debts, KEMSA has also encountered losses related to the procurement of protective equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic.
KEMSA had a COVID-19 stock valued at Sh5.45 billion. However, in August 2021, the Ministry of Health authorized the sale of commodities worth Sh5.24 billion at a market price of Sh3.2 billion, resulting in a loss of Sh2.04 billion.
Medical commodities valued at Sh548 million have since expired, and Kemsa anticipates an additional impairment loss of Sh753 million, leading to a cumulative loss of Sh3.3 billion.
This substantial loss is primarily attributed to decreased demand for items such as masks, sanitizers, and other protective gear that were in high demand during the peak of the pandemic.
Dr. Mulwa indicated that KEMSA is considering exploring opportunities in the private sector to address the gap in access to drugs and medical supplies.
“We aspire to enter the private sector, enabling us to offer quality and cost-effective pharmaceuticals to private healthcare providers. There is a void that we can fill,” he said.