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Parliament rejects treasury’s proposal to purchase kits

Health crisis is looming in Kenya after MPs rejected the National Treasury’s proposal to allocate Sh1.5 billion to buy Covid-19 testing kits and chemical reagents that have been slowing tests for covid-19.

The Mps rejected the proposal that would allocate money to the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa), arguing that the agency is still under investigations by the anti-graft agency for buying substandard reagents and personal protective equipment (PPE) for health workers.

National Treasury CS Ukur Yatani Photo: courtesy

The proposal is thwarted as the country fumbles with unprocessed tests due to effects of shortages experienced world over to acquire testing kits and fight the pandemic.

Lawmakers were not happy with the Treasury’s intention to divert part of the Sh3 billion allocation set aside for three national referral hospitals and select county referral hospitals for Covid-19 to Kemsa.

The Budget and Appropriations Committee (BAC) also shot down the Treasury’s bid to move Sh700 million from the funds dedicated to the hospitals to the Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC), which is now serving as an isolation centre for Covid-19 patients.

Treasury’s attempt to move Sh300 million from the allocation to hospitals for the purchase and supply of face masks to vulnerable groups was also also thwarted by the Mps.

“That this House reject the reallocation of ring-fenced funds including those affecting the Ministry of Health,” Moses Lessonet said, the BAC vice chairperson.

The MPs supported the committee‘s resolutions as the country struggles to put up for resources to speed up diagnostic testing to better understand where the coronavirus is spreading and how to stem further spread.

The country is preparing to begin easing restrictions as night curfews and halted movements in counties hit hardest as Mombasa and Nairobi.

The World Health Organisation has urged countries to consider their ability to test and trace before lifting the lock downs.

Treasury tabled a Sh11.3 billion mini-budget last week, seven days to the end of the current financial year besides the Sh1.5 billion for the testing kits, the mini-budget includes Sh5.8 billion sent to 47 counties to prepare a 300-bed capacity at each devolved unit as part of preparations to handle Covid-19 patients and another Sh3.4 billion to pay front line health workers.


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