Strategic partnership to make the supply chain work for children and women in Kenya

UNICEF Kenya | 07 November 2014 | 0 comments

© @Digital Eye

NAIROBI, Kenya, 7 November 2014 - In a world where far too many children die from treatable diseases, an efficient and timely supply of essential medicines and nutrition supplies is a matter of life and death. The supply chain is therefore vital to the survival and development of children.

In Kenya, thirty three per cent of children, particularly those in remote and disadvantaged communities, lose their lives at a tender age due to preventable diseases such as pneumonia and diarrhoea (2010 National Estimates). Many families are not able to access, let alone afford and provide treatment and care in time to save lives.

Foreseeing the need to ensure that life-saving health and nutrition supplies reach the children and women who desperately need them, UNICEF and the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) have, for the first time, launched a strategic partnership.

The UNICEF Kenya Acting Representative, Pirkko Heinonen, and KEMSA Chief Executive Officer, Dr. John Munyu, signed a Memorandum of Understanding to synergize supply strategies and strengthen child survival interventions in the country.

“Delays in the supply chain are no longer acceptable,” says Ms. Heinonen. “Reaching the unreached is a good and necessary investment for Kenya. This is why it was important for UNICEF to identify strategic partners that would offer complementarity, synergies, efficiency and effectiveness in programme delivery for mothers and children.”

KEMSA plays an important role in managing the essential medicines and medical supply chain in the country. KEMSA also has a strong medical supply chain network across the country, enabling it to deliver essential medicines from the manufacturers to almost all health facilities in Kenya’s 47 counties. This makes the organization a natural partner for UNICEF to implement its supply strategies in the health sector.

Dr. Munyu recognized UNICEF’s valuable contribution to the partnership saying, “Partnering with UNICEF will bring the global experience in medical logistics and supplies for women and children. We are therefore raising the bar to deliver for Kenyans.”

The momentous event took place at the KEMSA Embakasi Operations Centre in Nairobi. The Director of Medical Services from the Ministry of Health, Dr. Nicholas Muraguri, presided over the ceremony which was attended by UNICEF and KEMSA staff members, alongside development partners.

“We can only get the health outcomes that we need by making sure that the commodities required by a doctor to provide quality services for mothers and children are available in every corner of the country,” says Dr. Muraguri.

KEMSA and UNICEF have engaged in high level meetings prior to the launch of the strategic partnership including a visit to the UNICEF Supply Division in Copenhagen, Denmark. Together they have identified four key pillars for the strategic partnership: procurement services, logistics services, capacity optimization and knowledge transfer.

UNICEF expects to offer KEMSA US$5 million of essential medicines and nutrition supplies annually, including medical equipment for maternal and neonatal care, diagnostic kits, treatment for HIV/AIDS, insecticidal bed nets, therapeutic food, and much more. UNICEF will also leverage to KEMSA another US$3 million through procurement services for essential medicines from development partners.

KEMSA and UNICEF, working closely with the Ministry of Health, are committed to forging a strong partnership to share knowledge, and optimize capacity to build a better and more efficient supply chain not only in Kenya but ultimately the region.

Share your thoughts!