HEADS MUST ROLL

New Kemsa chair pledges swift reforms, transparency

KEMSA distributes Health Products and Technologies to over 6,000 health facilities to the last mile countrywide.

In Summary

•The new board is expected to hold their first meeting today (Thursday) since the former was disbanded by the President in April.

•Mwadime was appointed chair of the board by President Uhuru Kenyatta on April 29 for a period of three years after revoking the appointment of Kembi Gituri.

Incoming Kenya Medical Supplies Authority board chairperson Mary Chao Mwadime during the induction session on June 2, 2021
Incoming Kenya Medical Supplies Authority board chairperson Mary Chao Mwadime during the induction session on June 2, 2021

The incoming Kenya Medical Supplies Authority board chairperson Mary Chao Mwadime has pledged to address challenges and threats facing the agency.

The new board held their first meeting on Thursday since the former was disbanded by the President in April.

Speaking during a board induction, Mwadime noted that the new board has been able to pinpoint challenges and threats at the country’s leading medical logistics provider and would use the available capacity to address them while tapping into existing opportunities to improve the agency.

The chairperson further called on staff to work in an organized, dedicated and selfless manner to ensure that the critical medical supplies the Authority handles reach their intended destination in a timely fashion, in the right quantities and in good condition.

Mwadime was appointed chair of the board by President Uhuru Kenyatta on April 29 for a period of three years after revoking the appointment of Kembi Gituri.

The new appointment came amid a probe into the multi-million saga that is facing the national drugs supplier over the irregularity in awarding tenders.

But Mwadime during the induction said reforms were inevitable, adding that the newly appointed board was ready to identify weakness in the system and resolved to seek effective ways to seal them.

"The role played by KEMSA in the lives of Kenyans cannot be over-emphasised. It is a matter of life and death.  Among the basic essentials for human beings, good health is second to none. Healthcare is therefore pivotal, not only to our development, but to our very existence,” Mwadime said.

Mwadime reiterated their expectation that all staff at KEMSA will apply a set of shared values of integrity, transparency, accountability and professionalism at all times.

Incoming Kenya Medical Supplies Authority board chairperson Mary Chao Mwadime (R) during the induction session on June 2, 2021
Incoming Kenya Medical Supplies Authority board chairperson Mary Chao Mwadime (R) during the induction session on June 2, 2021

"The board will not spare any efforts in ensuring that the shared values are practiced by all and will in the same breadth not hesitate to deal accordingly with any person who choses to follow a different path," she cautioned.

Present during the board induction were board members Lawrence Wahome, Lincoln Nyaga, Terry Kiunge Ramadhani, Robert Nyarango, Josephat Mbuva and Mary Atieno.

Mwadime said, "Some of the issues brought out by the various presenters have led us to soul search and question the direction that we have individually or collectively taken in the past. Indeed, I want to believe that we are set for a culture change for the better to ensure the survival of KEMSA."

Through the ongoing reforms, the chair observed that KEMSA will be able to achieve its goals while creating and maintaining a positive image, adding that for KEMSA to effectively deliver on its mandate of procurement, warehousing and distribution of medical commodities, change must happen.

“Sometimes change, including culture change,  is not only unavoidable, but essential for survival,” she said.

She called upon all staff to embrace the reforms with a view to transform the Authority, noting that without change, KEMSA business will lose its’ competitive edge and fail to meet the ever-changing needs of its customers.

A KEMSA Reforms Implementation Committee with representatives from the Ministry of Health, DPHK, KEMSA, PPB and donors was constituted by the Health PS Susan Mochache to provide guidance and oversight on the KEMSA reforms. The Board will oversee the implementation of the recommendations by the reforms committee.

The board has committed to work closely with management, staff and all stakeholders to ensure that all issues are dealt with and KEMSA’s objectives are met.

KEMSA distributes Health Products and Technologies to over 6,000 health facilities to the last mile countrywide.

"We are leaving here well equipped with the necessary knowledge to move forward and actualize the KEMSA mandate. The visits made to some of our recipients and stakeholders enhanced the learning process," she said.

"It is my hope that we will all practice the shared values in order to address the gaps that have been identified in our operating systems and to seal all the loopholes with a view to ensuring that we fulfil, realise and deliver the KEMSA mandate, that of support to the efficient and effective delivery of health products and technologies."

The Chair echoed the board’s cognizance of the enormity of the task bestowed upon them by H. E the President that comes with great responsibility and decisions must be made for the good of all Kenyans.

She noted that KEMSA remains focused on ensuring that all Kenyans get quality, affordable and reliable Health Products and Technologies at the right time and in the right quantity.