On Monday, May 15, President William Ruto fired Public Health Principal Secretary Josephine Mburu over graft allegations on the donor-funded National Malaria Programme.
Head of the Public Service, Felix Koskei, said the decision comes following complaints of alleged impropriety within the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) in its management.
The firing was also as a result of complaints from administration of various medical programmes being undertaken by Kenya in conjunction with its development partners.
“The complaints follow the regular verification of expenditure by the Global Fund with regard to the National Malaria Programme that targets millions of low income Kenyan households within our nation’s malaria endemic regions,” Koskei mentioned.
Following the development, Health CS Susan Nakhumicha reconstituted the KEMSA board and appointed new members.
The new members include Hezborn Oyieko Omollo, Bernard Kipkirui Better, Jane Masiga and Jane Nyagaturi Mbatia.
President Ruto further appointed Irungu Nyakera to serve as the new chairperson of the KEMSA board.
Josephine Mburu education
Mburu completed her O’ level examinations at St Francis Primary School in 1981 and ‘A’ level examinations at Mary Hill High School in 1985.
She holds a Higher National Diploma in Microbiology from Kenya Medical Training College-Nairobi in 2002 with a Diploma in Medical Lab Sciences from Kenya Medical Training College-Nairobi.
Mburu also holds a Certificate in Medical Lab Sciences from Kenya Medical Training College-Kakamega, which she obtained between 1986 and 1988.
She holds a Doctorate in public health from Jomo Kenyatta University and a Masters degree in public health from Kenyatta University College.
Josephine Mburu career
Mburu been at the Ministry of Health for the last 34 years rising through the ranks to be a lecturer at the state-owned Kenya Medical Training College before her appointment.
She started working as a lecturer at KMTC in Nairobi, where she served as a practical instructor in the clinical area during rotation.
Mburu was also the Acting Head of the Microbiology Unit (National TB Lab, Public Health Bacteriology, and Oncology) and the Head of the National Tuberculosis Reference Laboratory Technologist.
She was also the Head/Manager at the Central Reference TB Laboratory (National Public Health Labs) and the Deputy Lab in charge – Quality Control Bacteriology (National Public Health Labs).
The 56-year-old had a stint at the Microbiology Department (National Public Health Labs), the Kiambu District Hospital Integrated Laboratory and the Gatundu District Hospital Integrated Laboratory.
Mburu is also affiliated with the Association of Kenya Medical Laboratory Scientific Officers.
Josephine Mburu KEMSA scandal
Mburu was fired by President Ruto barely five months into office over alleged impropriety within the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA).
The Head of State terminated Mburu’s appointment as the over graft allegations on the donor-funded National Malaria Programme.
Her appointment was terminated by the President on Monday following a meeting at the State House in Nairobi between officials from the ministries of Health, the National Treasury and the Public Service Commission.
Mburu is now the subject of an investigation into the Ksh 3.7 billion mosquito net deal at Kemsa, a scandal that happened when the agency was still smarting from the Ksh 7 billion COVID-19 pandemic scandal.
Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA)
Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) is a state corporation under the Ministry of Health established under the KEMSA Act 2013.
It is mandated to procure, warehouse and distribute drugs and medical supplies for prescribed public health programs, the national strategic stock reserve, prescribed essential health packages and national referral hospitals.
KEMSA was established in 2000 to replace the Medical Stores Department (MSD), which had been in existence since 1901.
KEMSA has a network of warehouses and distribution points throughout Kenya. It also has a fleet of trucks that it uses to deliver medical supplies to health facilities.
KEMSA’s procurement process is governed by the Public Procurement and Disposal Act 2005.
Roles of KEMSA
KEMSA has a number of roles in the Kenyan healthcare system. These include:
KEMSA is responsible for the procurement of all medical supplies for public health facilities in Kenya. This includes drugs, medical equipment, and other supplies.
KEMSA has a network of warehouses throughout Kenya. These warehouses are used to store medical supplies until they are needed by health facilities.
KEMSA uses a fleet of trucks to distribute medical supplies to health facilities throughout Kenya.
4. Technical support
This includes training staff on how to use medical supplies and providing advice on procurement and inventory management.
5. Rational use of drugs
KEMSA promotes the rational use of drugs. This includes providing information on the appropriate use of drugs and ensuring that drugs are used in a cost-effective manner.