Kemsa effects far reaching changes in supply, staffing

Tuesday, June 6th, 2023 06:00 | By
Kemsa Board chairman Irungu Nyakera.

The new Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) board has revoked the current list of tenders, and ordered a fresh process with far-reaching ramifications that could also see staff layoffs.

This move will also affect staff on contract who cannot meet the requirements of the institution, which will see their contracts terminated.

Board chairman Irungu Nyakera explained last evening this is meant to ensure only companies that provide value for money are pre-qualified.

“In order to strengthen our procurement processes and supply chain management to ensure efficiency, fairness, transparency and integrity, the Board has also embarked on reviewing all ongoing contracts that have been procured through single sourcing,” he said at the Kemsa Boardroom after a daylong closed-door meeting.

The board was unveiling its comprehensive plan meant to eradicate corruption, enhance good governance, recapitalise the institution, re-engage with our strategic partners, re-purpose its engagement with County governments and uplift staff morale and productivity.

Nyakera said that single sourcing had paved the way for monopoly action and was costly to the institution.

He also cautioned that any contract that is found to lack features for value for money will be forwarded to the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) for investigation.

“The board will also review all framework contracts immediately with the aim of eradicating single sourcing, cartelization and monopoly action and ensure that items procured under framework contracting are henceforth procured under standard, transparent procurement practices,” he said as the Board seemed to have hit the ground running a fortnight since it was inaugurated.

And perhaps, to stick with the strict resolve to improve tender procurement processes, the Board also announced the introduction of the lotting system in procurement that will set an upper financial limit beyond which no single bidder will win contracts.

Promote healthy competition

This, Nyakera said will promote healthy competition by scattering vested interest, and racketeering and thus ensure value for money for Kenyans from the institution’s procurement processes.

In the same vein, Nyakera also revealed that the Board will review staffing at the institution by auditing its human capital within the next two weeks.

“The Board will do this through a staff needs assessment and document validation with a view to retaining qualified staff and redeploying them in line with departmental needs,” he said, explaining that staff on contract - who cannot meet the requirements of the institution - will not have their contracts renewed any further.

The Board directed the management to freeze staff recruitment, scale down travel in the organisation with a view to re-orienting the budget to prioritise Kemsa’s role in Universal Health Care (UHC).

Nyakera said that all staff will, therefore, be placed on performance contracts tied to delivering on their roles.

“We recognize that motivated and engaged employees are essential for achieving our goals. To this end, we are implementing comprehensive programmes to improve staff morale, enhance their professional development opportunities, and create a conducive work environment that fosters teamwork, innovation, and excellence,” he emphasised.

However, he pointed out that the Board will be keen to listen to the employees’ concerns and suggestions. In this line, it will create channels for open communication within the organization.

“Over the past months, Kemsa has faced significant challenges that have undermined public trust. We recognise the impact this has had on the perception of our organization, and we take these concerns seriously,” he had said earlier.

Dead stock

The board also delved into the issue of dead stock that’s usually exposed to slow movement, by prioritising the procurement of Vital Supplies, Tracer Items and Class A products that are urgently required by and regularly utilised in end-user health facilities.

“We are going to seek engagement with the Chair of the Council of Governors in order to facilitate processing of the outstanding payments owed by counties to Kemsa,” Nyakera said.

He announced a plan to work jointly in rolling out a system that identifies individual county needs and orders to enable Kemsa to plan ahead and stock the particular Tracer Items and class A products that meet the respective demand by the counties. He said this will allow the institution to meet its target of 90 percent order fill rate; recapitalize Kemsa by selling off current slow moving stock to realize working capital.

“We invite the PPRA to do an audit of Kemsa procurement processes and give proposals of how improvements can be made to institutionalise best-practice as standard and thereby ensure efficiency and cost-savings to the Mwananchi through all Kemsa’s procurement going forward,” he said.

To acquire and institute a new Enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, and establish organizational interconnectivity and improved accountability of decision-makers within six months from today, the board also aims to digitalise all the systems at Kemsa.

“This will help in increasing operational efficiency,” he said, noting that this will also enhance financial control, the implementation of stricter financial controls, regular audits and risk assessments, to detect and prevent any potential irregularities.

Health Cabinet Secretary, Susan Nakhumicha inaugurated the new board two weeks ago after President William Ruto sent the old order packing for a reported loss of around Sh3 billion in an aborted procurement of mosquito nets.

She gave the new board express orders to clean the institution of graft in order to be able to deliver for the government’s key agenda, the UHC. “One of the primary objectives of the new management at Kemsa is to ensure effective and timely healthcare access for all Kenyans,” the CS said then, highlighting the vital role the institution plays in the country’s healthcare system.

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