Kemsa: Country risks erratic medical commodity supply

Thursday, May 21st, 2020 00:00 |
Kemsa chief executive Jonah Manjari. Photo/PD/SAMWEL KARIUKI

The country risks an erratic supply of health commodities in the coming days due to the supply chain challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic across the world.

Yesterday Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) cautioned this could lead to a possible spike in prices of Health Products and Technologies (HTPs) as the local manufacturing sector continues to suffer various production challenges.  

Despite putting on a brave face that the authority has enough stock of Personal Protective Equipments (PPEs), chief executive officer Jonah Manjari told the Senate Health Committee that Covid-19 social distancing guidelines applied globally especially in source countries has seen the supply chain gradually shrink to worrying levels.

“The Authority has encountered challenging moments in availability of some of the products due to lock down in some countries.

The pandemic has become a global supply chain challenge. However, the Authority has relatively good order fill rate of HPTs,” he said during a Zoom meeting with the senators.

The stocks that will be affected most according to Manjari include non-pharmaceutical products, which come from China and India- both countries have been on full lockdown for some period.  

However, Manjari said the authority has 95 percent of pharmaceutical commodities available while the existing stocks of non- pharmaceuticals account for 71 per cent, with a cumulative stock of 92 per cent.

“As management we have identified contingency measures including restricted tenders for local manufacturers and leveraging other humanitarian supply chains including Unicef to bridge the gap so long as pricing and quality is not compromised with the market prices being the benchmark,” he added.

However, on a positive note, the Kemsa chief executive said as at May 18 the authority stocks were stable at Sh10.7 billion being those in the warehouses, in the pipeline and call downs.

“In stock we have stocks valued at Sh3.7 billion while those that are in the pipeline we expect stocks of up to Sh3.8 billion. We have also ordered for commodities totalling Sh3.1 billion,” he said.

Manjari appealed to the committee to help the authority in recovering close Sh3 billion it is owed by the counties.

The Ministry of Health, Manjari said also owes Kemsa a total of Sh1.3 billion being an amount that accrued since the year 2016 in storage; procurement and distribution costs.

“We need support from Senators to recover this amount. I am appealing to the Senate to allocate money to the Ministry of Health so that they can pay us the money they owe us,” Manjari said.

Last year in March, Kemsa appealed to the senators to help it recover over Sh2 billion the counties owed the national health commodities supplier.

The Senators led by Committee chairman, Michael Mbito inquired from Kemsa what its current status on forecasting and quantification of essential medicines and medical supply needs at county level was.

Manjari said forecasting and quantification of essential medicines and medical supplies at the county remains a challenge due to lack of a real time data capture system.

“This leads to unavailability of adequate and reliable data for rational forecasting and quantification.

This, further impacts negatively on systematic, step-by-step approach to forecasting, quantification and supply planning by the counties,” he said.

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