Team to quiz Kagwe on ARVs d***s import row

Tuesday, April 13th, 2021 00:00 | By
ARV drugs. Photo/PD/FILE

The National Assembly Departmental Committee on Health has summoned Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe today to explain why US Agency for International Development (USAid) picked Chemonics International to import antiretroviral drugs in Kenya.

The CS is also expected to shed light on the intrigues surrounding the controversial importation and withdrawal of Sputnik V vaccine as the country continues to record high fatalities from the disease.

In today’s meeting, the CS will be accompanied by Principal Secretary Susan Mochache and Ag Director General of Health Patrick Amoth.

Last week, MPs claimed explanations given by the National Aids Control Council on ARVs on one hand, and the Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB) on the other over the Covid Vaccine were not sufficient.

“We want the big boys here on Tuesday, to explain these two issues,” Committee Vice Chair Joshua Kutuny ruled last week on Thursday during a heated virtual meeting where the MPs expressed displeasure with the way the USAid is currently handling the threatening shortage of ARVs.

Life-saving drugs

Concerns emerged over the manner in which the USAid contracted Chemonics International to ship in the life-saving drugs yet this has been the prerogative of the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (Kemsa). 

What incensed the MPs most is the private entity’s holding onto the millions of packs of  the  life saving drugs at the port of Mombasa when the shortage had started to be felt across the country.

However, Committee Chair Sabina Chege argued that Kenya being a sovereign country, it would be prudent that it builds her capacity to provide its citizens with ARVs with or without the USAid.

“There seems to be a rift between Kenya’s procurement system and donors. The relationship seems to be widening, and this calls for the country to review her medical equipment manufacturing policies so that even as donors pull out, we are able to be self sufficient,” she said.

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