•The Kenya Kwanza Presidential candidate said his administration will give counties a free hand to choose suppliers for drugs and medical kits.
•Kemsa is currently the only body mandated to supply drugs and medical equipment to public health facilities.
Deputy President William Ruto has vowed to end the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority's (Kemsa) monopoly in the supply of drugs and medical kits to public hospitals.
The Kenya Kwanza Presidential candidate said his administration will give counties a free hand to choose suppliers for drugs and medical kits.
"We must sort out the health commodity supply chain. I don't know about the wisdom of having a monopoly called Kemsa. Some people must persuade us that there is logic to that,” Ruto said.
Kemsa is currently the only body mandated to supply drugs and medical equipment to public health facilities.
Ruto was speaking during a health forum held by the Kenya Kwanza alliance at the Catholic University of East Africa in Nairobi on Monday.
He opined that it made no sense that county facilities would go without drug supply when in need.
“We just must sort it out. You go to any health facility, you go to any county they will tell you they have very serious challenges with Kemsa," he added.
Ruto revealed that he had earlier tried to reform KEMSA as the chairman of the Intergovernmental Budget and Economic Council (IBEC) but his efforts bore no fruits.
He explained that he had recommended each of the 47 counties to appoint two members to Kemsa’s board but the move did little to bring the much-desired change to the medical supplies authority.
"As chair of the IBEC, we even tried to say let the counties appoint two directors to KEMSA, they did about two years ago but we are still on the same spot. The structure of the supply of drugs needs to be redone," Ruto added
Ruto also pledged to revive the plans to digitize Kenya’s healthcare system.
The plan was thrown in limbo after concerns were raised over the Government’s procurement process.
Part of the project was to set up a data centre at Kenyatta National Hospital which was to be linked to Kemsa, National Hospital and Insurance Fund ( NHIF) and other county and sub-county referrals.