The Ministry of Health will have to seek other avenues to fund the purchasing of COVID-19 testing kits after legislatures rejected a proposal by the National Treasury to allocate 1.5 billion shillings to the course.
In the scenario that the decision by the parliamentarians through the Budget and Appropriations Committee (BAC) is not reversed, then Kenya is staring at a worse crisis than it already is in as the fight against COVID-19 can only be won in mass testing.
By rejecting the proposal to allocate 1.5 billion shillings to purchasing of COVID-19 testing kits and chemical reagents, the parliamentarians are stalling the war against COVID-19 spread.
The funds were to be allocated to the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) which the Parliamentarians argued was already under investigation by the anti-graft agency for having procured substandard reagents and PPEs.
The Ministry of Health has already confirmed that it indeed has a backlog of COVID-19 samples that need to be tested for the virus.
According to the legislatures, the bone of contention is on the Treasury diverting part of the 3 billion shillings to the allocation of three national referral hospitals and selected county hospitals for COVID-19 to Kemsa.
The parliamentary committee also rejected the Treasury’s attempt to divert 300 million shillings from the allocation to hospitals for the purchase and supply of facemasks to vulnerable groups saying the house was against reallocation of ‘ring-fenced funds’.
This comes at a time when the existing curfew and County partial lockdown is about to end and the government is considering not furthering the measure despite the country reporting an increase in the number of COVID-19 infections cases.
The hardest-hit counties that require urgent mass testing are currently Nairobi and Mombasa and with the back and forth of funds urgently required to enable the testing leaving Kenyans nervous at what their fate will be.
Covid-19 infection numbers have shown a steady increase. In March, 3,419 samples were tested, & 78 people turned positive. In April, 19,108, samples were tested & 328 tested positive. In May, 57,527 samples were run, & 1,615 tested positive. #KomeshaCorona update.
— Ministry of Health (@MOH_Kenya) June 28, 2020