Health PS grilled over medical equipment leasing deal


Health PS grilled over medical equipment leasing deal
Some of the Medical Equipment under the Managed Equipment Services (MES) project. PHOTO| COURTESY

Health Principal Secretary Khadija Kasachon was on Tuesday put to task by the Parliamentary Health Committee over the actual cost of government medical equipment leasing scheme.

The MPs were questioning variation in actual cost of the project with members claiming it will cost taxpayers 42 billion shillings and not 38 billion shillings currently being publicized.

The committee headed by Rachael Nyamai directed the Health PS to produce a list of all medical equipment being leased for county hospitals to clear the air over the deal.

Kasachon has undertaken to produce the list, as the committee threatened not to approve health ministry budget until it accounts for all approved past monies.

The grilling comes as governors last week bowed to pressure and agreed to sign the Sh38 billion medical equipment leasing deal, opening the door for poor Kenyans to enjoy better quality services in public hospitals.

Despite signing the deal, the governors said they would continue to negotiate with the national government to better understand the pact.

The government has leased the medical equipment on behalf of the counties. The equipment will be distributed in 98 hospitals countrywide.

 

Saving Kenyans of millions of shillings

President Uhuru Kenyatta had said the supply of Ksh 38 billion national government-backed medical equipment to county hospitals would continue despite stiff opposition from governors.

Kenyatta said the scheme, whose legality the governors have challenged in the High Court, would be rolled out as planned to save millions of Kenyans living in the countryside the burden of seeking specialised treatment such as kidney dialysis in Nairobi.

“Soon, a hospital near your home will be well-equipped. You will not have to travel to Nairobi or overseas for specialised treatment,” he said even as he warned against politicisation of the initiative.

The President’s word came after three months of governors’ intense opposition to the scheme, which they see as the national government’s attempt to roll back devolution by taking back some of the functions legally given to the counties.

The governors have argued that the seven-year equipment leasing deal with private suppliers is unconstitutional because it was done without their involvement despite the fact that health is a devolved function.

By Maureen Murimi

 

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