Sonko wants new supplier for drugs in Nairobi hospitals

Governor questions Kemsa debt and claims medicine never reached health centres

In Summary

• Sonko directs county executive members to look for another supplier

• Nairobi received the last batch of drugs from Kemsa in August last year.

Governor Sonko during the launch of Human Milk Bank at Pumwani Maternity Hospital on Friday
Governor Sonko during the launch of Human Milk Bank at Pumwani Maternity Hospital on Friday

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko on Friday directed county health officers and the executive to look for an alternative medical supplier.

He questioned the Sh309 million debt the Kenya Medical Supply Authority (Kemsa) said Nairobi county owes it.

Sonko was speaking during the launch of the First Human Milk Bank at Pumwani Maternity Hospital. 

Sonko said the Director of Criminal Investigations is investigating a case in which  Kemsa claimed to have supplied medicine worth Sh309 million to the county. The governor said the medicine claimed to have been supplied did not reach hospitals and the county cannot pay for it.

In 2017, Kemsa stopped supplying medicine to Nairobi hospitals over a Sh285 million debt, a move which forced patients to buy drugs and other medical supplies from private hospitals and chemists.

It took the intervention of President Uhuru Kenyatta and Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki for Kemsa to resume supplying medicine to the county last year.

Sonko has said his government has paid more than Sh175 million to the supplier but they are not receiving enough medicine. 

“Tumelipa zaidi ya milioni 175 alafu hawa Kemsa bado wanacheza na maisha ya watu wa Nairobi. Kwa hivyo, mimi kama Gavana wa Nairobi nasema enough is enough," Sonko said.

This is loosely translated to, "We have paid more than Sh175m yet Kemsa is playing with the lives of the people of Nairobi. As the Governor of Nairobi, I'm saying enough is enough."

Sonko has asked the county assembly to table a motion which will allow them to look for another supplier.

He has called upon the office of DCI to investigate the Kemsa debt and arrest the culprits behind the supply of the medicine.

Sonko’s remarks come as the supplier stopped supplying medicine to county hospitals over Sh309 million debts. Kemsa's debts have accrued since 2014. 

The last batch of drugs was supplied in August last year, the County Assembly Health committee heard on Tuesday.

The deputy director of medical services, Dr Irene Muchoki, said, "Our county hospitals only received drugs once this financial year. "