Sh63b medical equipment in 25 counties found defective

Wednesday, May 31st, 2023 08:00 | By
Sh63b medical equipment in 25 counties found defective
Patients undergoing renal treatment at Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi. PHOTO/Print

Some 25 counties have reported that medical equipment supplied under the controversial Sh63 billion Managed Equipment Service (MES) programme are faulty and no longer offering services to citizens.

The devolved units have filed a report and submitted it to the Council of Governors (CoG) Chief Executive Officer Mary Mwita indicating that theatre, CT-scan ICU, renal and x-ray machines are not functional.

This is despite each county spending Sh200 million annually for the repairs and maintenance of the multi-billion shilling equipment.

Nyeri, Elgeyo Marakwet, Murang’a, Makueni, Vihiga, Busia, Kiambu, Kisii, Nandi, Taita Taveta, West Pokot and Garissa have reported faulty equipment. Others are Bomet, Tharaka Nithi, Nairobi, Turkana, Wajir, Lamu, Kisumu, Nakuru, Isiolo, Meru and Kilifi.

Under the MES contracts signed in 2015 with five international firms, the contractors were required to commission, maintain and train county medics on the usage of the sophisticated equipment.

The assorted medical equipment was installed in select county and national hospital in what the government rooted was to improve provision of health services.

The revelations have compounded the mystery surrounding the programme that has been criticised as having been designed to fleece the public.

The programmes entailed leasing of assorted medical equipment for a period of seven years ending December, 2022. The contracts are yet to be extended.

The report shows that some of faulty MES theatre equipment at Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital are anaesthetic machine, patient stretchers, operation table, and surgical diathermy while oxygen sensors on all anaesthetic machines are outdated.

West Pokot Health department reported that an ultrasonic washer is not being used while Brivo-DR, an equipment in x-ray section, has not been connected to power since installation.

Faulty machines

In Kirinyaga county for instance, at Kerugoya referral hospital reported that two dialysis machines, one theatre operating light, operating theatre table brakes, air conditioning system and a portable x-ray machine are faulty and are no longer in use for some time now.

Many governors said the contract was vague and shoved down their throats during President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration.

“The committee has established the entire procurement process in the MES project from conceptualisation to its implementation is shrouded in secrecy and smells of irregularities and illegalities,” reads part of the Senate ad hoc committee established to probe the project.

The report showed the officials manipulated procurement laws, varied contracts and bulldozed county governments into accepting the equipment without proper consultation between the two levels of government.

However, the report was rejected on the floor as a majority of the senators voted against it, saying the committee had not identified specific individuals who bungled the programme.

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