Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) has refuted claims that it has stopped supplying county health facilities with essential medicines because of pending debts.
This comes after it was reported that several county hospitals have been hit by drug shortage that they linked to an alleged Kemsa policy to stop supplies to counties that have pending debts over unpaid bills.
Recently, Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko asked Health Cabinet secretary Sicily Kariuki to intervene claiming the agency had refused to supply county health facilities even after paying Sh58 million.
Mr Sonko’s plea prompted Ms Kariuki to order Kemsa to supply drugs to Nairobi hospitals subject to a meeting on how to settle pending bills.
But the agency has termed the reports as “inaccurate and misleading”, saying they do not portray the true picture of the distribution of medical supplies to the counties.
“At no time has Kemsa ever declined to supply commodities if a county makes a written proposal and commitment for payment,” said Ms Elizabeth Mwai, Kemsa’s communications director, in a notice published in local dailies on Thursday.
Ms Mwai said Kemsa has a 45-day credit period with the counties which allows them to make payments once an order has been processed and supplied.
“Kemsa has continued to appreciate the challenges that counties are facing in terms of funds and through mutual agreements has previously extended the credit period,” she said.
In July, Kemsa chief executive Jonah Mwangi said that counties owe the agency about Sh2.3 billion for drugs and other medical supplies with Nairobi County having the highest debt at Sh235 million, followed by Narok with Sh104 million.
But he said that they have been in talks with counties and came up with payment plans for the debt to be paid in instalments. Nairobi County paid Sh52 million in July and promised to pay Sh30 million monthly to clear the debt.