Under the devolved government structure in Kenya, individual county governments use multiple parallel systems to procure and deliver essential health supplies to hospitals and dispensaries. While decentralization has increased accountability and ownership of the health services at county level, the fragmentation of the supply system can also bring undesired effects, such as increased costs and reduced availability.
Recognizing the challenge, the existing partnership between the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) and UNICEF has made it possible for UNICEF to lend its procurement capacity and expertise to partners in Kenya through the Procurement Services mechanism. The reciprocal nature of the partnership also provides an opportunity to leverage both UNICEF and KEMSA’s strengths, when supporting counties in the procurement process, improving their ability to eliminate challenges of poor planning, commodity shortages, delays and wastage.
In this context, UNICEF organized a workshop in March 2016, “Delivering as One to Ensure Availability of Essential Medicines and Health Supplies for children in Kenya”. It brought together senior health officials from 17 counties who had candid discussions with Government officials, KEMSA and other development partners. The Chief Officer, Health Services in Mandera County, Maryam Dahir Dubow, spoke for many when she said “The people back at home at the county level are demanding quality health care services and it is our constitutional duty to ensure that we deliver the same despite the distances essential commodities have to travel.”
Participants agreed to work closely with UNICEF, KEMSA and other stakeholders under a single supply system that ensures the procurement of quality supplies with value-for-money. The need for a common national strategy, as well as improved coordination mechanisms amongst partners in Supply Chain Management of health commodities were also recognized as important milestones for the immediate future.
UNICEF will continue to support the Government of Kenya and KEMSA to lead this process, which will contribute to a more sustainable supply system for the benefit of children in Kenya.
Watch a video on this workshop, and on how UNICEF supports the delivery of essential supplies on YouTube.
Read more on the UNICEF Kenya website.