The management of the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) has released all non-core staff to work from home for 30 days as the agency kicks off restructuring processes.
In a statement to newsrooms on Thursday, KEMSA Board Chairperson Mary Chao Mwadime said the move follows recommendations made by a multi-agency Taskforce formed to provide an independent operating recovery strategy for the agency to facilitate organisational effectiveness.
The Taskforce was formed in June following claims that billions had been lost in irregular procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country in March last year.
Mwadime said the core operating teams under a caretaker management team have been notified, appointed and mobilised to ensure seamless operations in the intervening period.
“The challenges identified in the report confirm that KEMSA is currently grossly underperforming and largely unable to meet clients’ urgent needs, particularly the delivery of essential Medicines and Products to the Counties, Referral Hospitals and Programs,” said Mwadime.
“This has endangered the lives of Kenyans and is gravely threatening the realisation of Universal Health Coverage (UHC), which is critically predicated on a successful and optimally operating KEMSA.”
The Taskforce identified challenges that were categorised as follows: Financial crisis; supply chain crisis; warehousing and distribution chaos; and procurement chaos.
To address the challenges the KEMSA Board resolved to make reforms in the agency’s structure, governance and processes.
Mwadime said the release of the staffers will facilitate the review of the organisational structure.
“The (review) will be undertaken expeditiously to ensure that the staff complement is fit for purpose and within the approved staff establishment levels,” said Mwadime.
“Attendant sensitivity and empathy will be maintained as the Board is committed to ensuring a smooth review.”
All staff will be engaged and appraised throughout the notice period.
“The necessary counseling and psychological support will be availed to all staff,” Mwadime added.
Earlier, there were reports that the staffers had been sacked and the agency placed under the Kenya Defence Forces that recently took over the Kenya Meat Commission (KMC).
President Uhuru Kenyatta said the KDF takeover at KMC was aimed at salvaging the livestock sector which is a mainstay for millions of Kenyans.