MES

Chinese firm in medical gear probe says leasing expensive

Chinese contractor says the Ministry of Health would have paid less were to purchase directly

In Summary

•A Chinese firm that supplied theater equipment under the Sh63 billion Managed Equipment Scheme has admitted that Kenyans are paying three times the market price for the items.

•Shenzhen Mindray Biomedical Company – the equipment’s manufacturer – was contracted to supply theater equipment for Sh4.5 billion under the leasing arrangement in 2015.

Senator Fatuma Dulo during a media briefing in Parliament.
Senator Fatuma Dulo during a media briefing in Parliament.
Image: FILE

A Chinese firm that supplied theatre equipment under the Sh63 billion Managed Equipment Scheme has admitted that Kenyans are paying three times the market price.

Shenzhen Mindray Biomedical Company, the manufacturer, was contracted to supply theatre equipment for Sh4.5 billion under the leasing arrangement in 2015.

However, the firm told the Senate ad hoc committee probing the controversial programme that the government would have spent Sh1.5 billion if it had made a direct purchase.

 

Subcontracted company Megascope Healthcare, however, insisted that the leasing programme was the most viable route for the government, considering other variables.

“Leasing might be the best option because it removes the headache of maintenance and repairs from the ministry,” Megascope Healthcare general manager Renne Lupalo.

"If the government were to do a direct purchase, it would have cost less but within two years would have spent more on maintenance and repairs.”

In the contract signed in May 2015 and varied in May 2017, Shenzhen was to supply anaesthesia machines, electrical surgical unit, theatre lamp, theatre table, and resuscitaires.

The firm also supplied and installed instrument trolleys, linen trolleys, patient stretchers and patient trolleys to the initial 96 health facilities. Later after variation, some 19 more health facilities were equipped.

“For direct purchase, the tear and wear are on the high side as there is no maintenance. From our experience, leasing would be the best option, as it removes the headache from you, the procuring entity, to the contractor,” Lupalo said.

Lupalo told the committee chaired by Isiolo Senator Fatuma Dullo that Shenzhen, through Megascope, has supplied, installed, commissioned, trailed and marinated equipment in all the 125 facilities. He said the company has replaced equipment damaged in different hospitals across the country. Others have been stolen.

 
 

“We have evidence, for instance in Taveta, Malindi and other coastal areas, we have done this because of the salinity of the region that is expected and thus machines do rust,” he said.

The committee, however, took issue with Lupalo’s assertion that the equipment has been installed in all the hospitals across the 47 counties.

The panel cited Garbatullla Hospital in Isiolo and Endebes in Trans Nzoia, saying equipment supplied was still lying idle.

“We visited the hospital and what we found there was shocking. The equipment you are saying is still sealed in boxes,” Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang'ula said.

Wetang'ula also demanded to know why the company was being paid a uniform amount, yet it supplied different quantities of the items.

But Lupalo said the medical equipment leased was identical in all the health facilities but varied in quantum, depending on the specifications from the ministry.

On Monday, the committee visited Garbatullla Level 4 Hospital in Isiolo and Meru Level 5 Hospital on a fact-finding mission.

“We will recommend to the ministry to recover the money paid to the company for areas that the equipment has not been installed,” Wetang'ula said.

(Edited by F'Orieny)