Third Eye

Distribute Kemsa Covid equipment to schools

Wednesday, September 16th, 2020 00:00 |
Kenya Medical Supplies Authority offices in Nairobi. Photo/PD/File

Experts have said the worst of Covid-19 is over and the difficult part now is planning for a future that is safe for everyone to thrive in.

The elephant in the room, however, is how schools will re-open and for teaching to take place without putting the lives of learners at risk.

This is a matter of urgency and a priority for everyone.

A Covid-19 conference on August 31, representing the national and county government passed a resolution that the National Youth Service be tasked with producing masks for all learners, a project officials said would cost Sh1 billion. 

Another resolution was that both levels of government stimulate local manufacturing of Covid-19 commodities to meet the national demand.

However, before these noble avenues are pursued, the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa), on the one hand, has a stockpile of coronavirus commodities valued at Sh6 billion.

On the other hand, county governments went on a spending spree purchasing similar items in large quantities.

Whereas there is contestation on the prudence of the purchases, would it not be wise, considering the turn of events about the virus, to offer these items to schools to hasten the process of re-opening while at the same time utilising the equipment before they become obsolete? 

Kemsa officials who appeared before the National Assembly Health Committee were torn between selling the items at the current market rate, therefore, recording a loss or keeping them in their stores hoping prices would improve.

When they were making this argument the KN95 mask that was bought for Sh700 was retailing at Sh250.

Currently the mask can be procured at between Sh100 and Sh200.

It is inevitable that the taxpayer will lose the money spent on the items; what better way to use them than on protecting learners in schools.

When the pandemic landed on our soil the government was quick to utilise any ethanol available to manufacture hand sanitisers; this certainly went a long way in controlling the spread of the virus.

Up to 1.5 million litres of ethanol was converted into sanitisers. Why can the commodities in the Kemsa and county stores not be subjected to similar treatment?

Today, the people who exploited procurement systems to benefit from the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a presidential directive, are supposed to be exposed and prosecuted.

They deserve the stiffest penalties for their misdeeds. Nevertheless, as the law takes its course let items be distributed across the country for the public good.

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