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Sh4.7 billion health data technology in limbo

Sunday June 24 2018

Mikel Macharia

Seven Seas Technologies manager Mike Macharia. The firm is on the spot over delayed implementation of the country’s Healthcare Information Technology system, 10 months after it was awarded the contract at a cost of Sh4.7 billion. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP  

SILAS APOLLO
By SILAS APOLLO
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A local IT firm is on the spot over delayed implementation of the country’s Healthcare Information Technology system, 10 months after it was awarded the contract at a cost of Sh4.7billion.

Seven Seas Technologies is unable to explain their inability to complete a multi-billion shilling project that sought to centralise data centre at the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) to senior officials at the Ministry of Health.

Senior ministry officials have downplayed the matter, although medics at the radiology department decry work inefficiencies occasioned by system installation delays.

This follows reports that patients continue to suffer at the top referral hospital almost a year after a private firm contracted to connect a central data centre, mainly affecting cancer patients, failed to honour its part of the bargain.

CONTRACTOR

Seven Seas Technologies was awarded the Sh4.7 billion tender to connect all medical facilities above Level 4 in September last year and was expected to have finalised in 90 days. The KNH project was a pilot.

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Contacted, Seven Seas Technologies manager Mike Macharia referred us to the Health ministry, which he said was his client and not KNH.

“The PS in the Ministry of Health is the owner and contractor of the project. Call him to get the depth of the matter,” he said.

Health Principal Secretary Peter Tum, however, said the contract was a countrywide one, adding that he was not aware of the KNH issue.

INFLATED

The Healthcare Information Technology (HCIT) is part of the Medical Equipment Services flagship projects undertaken by the Jubilee government to ensure delivery of quality healthcare.

Initially, Seven Seas Technologies demanded a down payment to commence the work but this was declined.

Currently, the KNH data centre is yet to be fitted with the ICT systems, 10 months later.

The tender price is also feared to have been inflated, since the project relies on the already installed fiber optic infrastructure from where the looping is done.

CRIPPLING

Under the MES Programme, Seven Seas was initially sub contracted by General Electric East Africa Services but they were pushed out in less than six months for what was said to be non-performance.

Over 70 employees also pulled out due to non-payment, effectively crippling the ICT firm.

Currently, the HCIT centre at KNH has fading paint and minimal cabling. The synchronised data centre dream is yet to be realised.

The revelations come even as the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission began an out-of-court agreement to recover funds lost in the multi-million shilling mobile clinics scandal.

SUB-STANDARD

The commission says that under the deal, a prefabricated medical clinic that could be locally manufactured at a cost of Sh3 million was given to a Chinese Company at a cost Sh8 million per unit.

Documents by the EACC show that Guangzhou Moneybox Steel Structure Engineering Ltd received only Sh525 million, meaning the firm awarded the contract, Estama Investment, pocketed Sh275 million for just being a go-between.

Documents the EACC filed in court show there was no value for money in the deal and that Estama, senior Ministry of Health officials and the Chinese firm procured sub-standard products.