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KENYA: Strengthening health systems to improve access to health


Nairobi, Kenya, Nov 11- Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha says the government remains committed to fast track the achievement of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in the country.

Nakhumicha made the remarks Tuesday during a familiarization tour of the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (KEMSA) National Supply Chain Centre in Embakasi, Nairobi, noting that it is one of the government’s strategic institutions as it pushes for universal healthcare.

“My tour here today was to see how things are sitting back here and what are the things that we need to do in terms of improving our efficiencies to ensure that KEMSA plays its part in the delivery of UHC to Kenyans,” Nakhumicha said.

The Health CS stated that she held discussions with KEMSA CEO Terry Ramadhani and the Board of Directors and agreed on a number of measures that must be taken in order to achieve UHC.

Nakhumicha said that one of the things they had agreed on was improving operational efficiency in order to increase their order fill rates from the current 56 per cent to at least 80 percent over the next few months.

She added that they also discussed lowering the costs of Health Products and Technologies(HPT’s) in order to make them more competitive.

“We want to promise Kenyans that moving forward Kemsa is going to be their one-stop shop for all the Health Products and Technologies (HPT’s) that are required for the public facilities,” she stated.

She further acknowledged the efforts that have been done by the Board and the management in terms of reforms towards KEMSA staff noting that there is a need to recognize employees as investments but not expenditures.

“The reforms are going to go on and through the board and the management they are going to look at what are the best ways to achieve optimum staff for us to be able to perform that which is expected of us from the rest of Kenyans,” she stated.

The Health CS further pointed out that also discussed the need for Kemsa to prioritize local manufacturers to reduce healthcare costs.

“As a country, we are geared towards promoting local manufacturing, especially for pharmaceuticals and Kemsa as a strategic partner then we expect that the management moves into that direction in ensuring that they are able to buy locally and by so doing we hope we shall be able to bring down the cost of healthcare in this country,” she said.

Nakhumicha went on to say that plans are underway to digitize the operations within KEMSA to ensure transparency and accountability in the sector that has been in the past riddled with claims of corruption.

The Health CS expressed optimism that the ongoing reforms at KEMSA will bear fruits over the coming months.

“I am hoping that in the next few months Kenyans will see a transformed KEMSA in terms of how they support the country in delivering healthcare,” she said.

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