Governors have requested that contractors and suppliers of the contentious Sh53 billion Managed Equipment Services (MES) program reduce the cost of consumables and equipment downtime for servicing.
The contracts must be signed, but the program must be reviewed to address “equity concerns,” according to Muthomi Njuki, chair of the Council of Governors Health Committee.
The Tharaka-Nithi governor added, “We had suppliers leasing equipment for free and earning their money on consumables, but with the MES project, the leasing is already exorbitant and they are making a kill off consumables.”
According to him, only the suppliers repair them, and since there is no open bidding process, the providers can set their own prices. This section is not very welcoming to the counties.
“Counties take longer to pay, thus the consumables in government hospitals are more expensive than those in private hospitals. They are taking advantage of every opportunity. We want the costs to come down.” Mr. Njuki added.
The county head stated that a significant problem has been the length of time it takes to service the equipment.Before the contracts are extended, the governors also want to pay counties that received equipment but never used it. About 13 public hospitals that received MES funding were unable to use their equipment, according to a report published last month by the Association of Medical Engineering of Kenya (AMEK).
According to AMEK, the equipment is inactive because to a shortage of staff, a lack of water, a lack of three-phase electricity for X-ray machines, and unfinished hospital structures. The initial contract ran out last year, and the government decided to extend it for another year at a cost of Sh100 million per county, or Sh14.1 billion over three years. The counties had invested $470 million for the seven-year agreement that ended on February 5, 2022. (Sh53 billion).