Massive layoff looming at KEMSA

Massive layoff looming at KEMSA

Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) is mulling a restructure that would see hundreds of staff sent home.

The firm has already issued a general notice letter to all non-core staff to work from home.

This is meant to pave way for the review of KEMSA’s structure, coming at a time when the firm is facing criticism over the misappropriation of public funds.

KEMSA board, Thursday said it is facing financial, supply chain, warehousing and distribution crisis.

The release of all non-core staff to work from home is a procedural formality to facilitate the review of the organizational structure, the board said, and will be undertaken expeditiously to ensure that the staff complement is fit for purpose and within the approved staff establishment levels.

The exercise will be undertaken expeditiously to ensure that the staff complement is fit for purpose and within the approved staff establishment levels.

“This commitment includes aligning the organisational structure to industry-accepted standards for a health commodities and technologies procurement organisation,” said Mary Chao Mwadime, KEMSA’s Chairperson.

This comes three months after the Global Fund (GF) Grant tasked Kenya to speedily resolve challenges facing KEMSA which include governance, transparency and accountability.

Mark Edington, GF Head said that while they are alive to the fact that KEMSA reform program is ongoing and is expected to positively transform the authority, the transformation of the body to its former glory is very critical for the Kenya Health sector.

He asked Kenya to pay urgent attention to resolving the issues at KEMSA, including addressing the recent disruption in supply chain for critical drugs for HIV.

“We also request that the Government of Kenya puts in place mitigation measures to ensure timely procurements of health products, including for Covid-19, which are critical and urgent. Some of the arrangements we have seen are unacceptably long,” said Edington.

KEMSA woes started at the height of COVID-19 pandemic when it got embroiled in a Ksh.7.6 billion scandal involving the procurement of COVID-19 related medical supply equipment.

In April this year, President Uhuru Kenyatta intervened by disbanding KEMSA board.

He then appointed Mwadime as the new Chairperson of the KEMSA board for a three-year period term, effective April 30, 2021.

But even as the board is planning for a restructure, concerns have emerged that the firm is only keen to press hard low ranking workforce, and overlook senior staff who influence decisions as far as procurement is concerned.

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