Senators call for a fresh audit of medical equipment deal

Wednesday, September 9th, 2020 00:00 |
Kebs managing director Bernard Njiraini. Photo/PD/SAMUEL KARIUKI

Hillary Mageka @hillarymageka

The Senate Ad Hoc Committee that investigated the controversial Sh63 billion medical leasing equipment has called for a fresh audit on the deal.

Additionally, the committee has also recommended that a fresh engagement be undertaken to salvage the remaining phase of Managed Equipment Service (MES) project.

The audit should be done and concluded within the next three months and the findings reported to the Senate.

Committee chaired by Isiolo Senator Fatuma Dullo said the audit will help the national and county governments to analyse and formulate a way forward on the project.

According to the panel, the project is “a classic case of a good idea executed badly”. 

“It is without doubt there are gains to be made from the MES project. Moving forward, the committee recommends that after a thorough audit, a fresh engagement be undertaken to salvage what is remaining of the project,” a report tabled in the Senate yesterday read in part.

“The audit should commence immediately as soon as the report is adopted and report back to the Senate within six months,” it adds.

In undertaking this audit, the committee proposes the establishment of a multi-sectoral committee comprising  representatives of the Ministry of Health, Council of Governors ,  Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB),  Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs), National Treasury and representatives of Civil Society Groups operating in the health sector.

According to lawmakers, the team will assist to undertake a valuation of the equipment supplied under project in order to validate the viability of the equipment.

“In the event that the contract is not extended, their needs to be a post MES strategy so that the investment does not go to waste,” they said.

Meanwhile, the committee has questioned the role of  Kebs and PPB on matters relating to medical equipment and drugs.

According to the committee, it is apparent the mandate of the Ministry of Health agencies such as Kebs and PPB on matters concerning public health standards and safety should be clearly recognised and adhered to by the parent ministry.

“The questionable, dysfunctional and unsatisfactory actions of Kebs, Kenya Medical supplies Authority and PPB in discharging their statutory role in the MES project left Kenyans severely exposed to health risks,” noted the committee.

When they appeared before the committee in July, Kebs Managing Director Bernard Njiraini said the agency did not inspect the equipment that was imported into the country as they did not have the mandate to test the machines.

PPB boss Fred Siyoi on the other hand said: “We lack the financial, human and infrastructure capacity to inspect, test and verify the complicated high-risk medical devices coming into the country.”

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