Clean up drugs authority

Friday July 10 2020

The most annoying thing about the rot in the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) is that it has gone on for too long.

The malpractices that have been documented should have been dealt with by now. There have been reports of large stocks of expired drugs in Kemsa’s stores when public hospitals across the country do not have any.

The agency has also been fingered for deliberate oversupply of drugs driven by an ulterior motive. This is the most callous betrayal of the people whose taxes the agency uses to procure the medicines.

It should be distributing these drugs quickly and adequately to save lives.


The latest audit of Kemsa has revealed the same glaring mismanagement and blatant corruption. The authority was set up with the best intentions and entrusted with a crucial responsibility that it has largely failed to discharge.


Its key duty is to purchase drugs for all the public health facilities in the country. However, the latest audit has revealed procurement and financial irregularities that could lead to a loss of Sh100 billion in donor funds.

Kemsa’s failure to discharge its pivotal duty in the healthcare delivery system undermines the government’s commitment to ensuring access to life-saving medicines. Healthcare is an expensive undertaking.

Donor support comes in handy and the easiest way to cut it off is to steal and mismanage the aid from governments and organisations whose only interest is to save lives. It is a humane gesture of goodwill that must never be abused.

Kemsa has proven to be an inept organisation through which a few greedy people seek to enrich themselves.

For that reason, we must endorse the recommendation of the special audit carried out last October for an overhaul of the procurement system to enhance accountability and prevent wanton wastage and losses.