Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe has asked parliament to support the forthcoming finance bill that proposes to waive taxes on medical commodities to provide incentive to the private sector in local manufacturing projects.
While touring Revital Healthcare Limited in Kilifi, Kagwe said his ministry has been working with the legislature to review a number of bills in the health sector.
The CS received over 100,000 boxes of free masks and 10,000 free Covid-19 testing kits from the health manufacturing company that has provided over 5000 jobs to the locals.
Kagwe said the ministry seeks to make laws governing the sector more responsive to market demands.
“We wish to appeal to our legislature to expedite the proposals made through the Health Amendment Bill 2020,” said Kwage
He further said “We also urge the legislators to not only support the forthcoming finance bill that proposes to waive taxes on medical commodities that will enable businesses respond more to the needs of the sector but also work with us in the institution of other legal mechanisms to provide incentives for potential private sector partners in local manufacturing.”
He said the government is spearheading a multi-stakeholder initiative that aims to explore mechanisms to support local manufacturing of all medical commodities.
“The initiative aims to support the president’s directive on procurement of 40 percent from local manufacturers and suppliers,” said Kagwe.
The initiative brings on board stakeholders from pharmaceutical industry, policy and finance spaces to review the current taxation of medical commodities and reduce production cost.
Kagwe said Kenya is a strategic position in the region to become a manufacturing powerhouse for medical commodities and is upon the government and private players to engage in impactful partnership to support development of local industries that will strengthen the economy and encourage job creation for the youth.
The CS urged local manufacturers to also take advantage of the demand in the country and the region to grow not just their business but also contribute to creation of jobs that are very much desired.
While responding to the changes at Kenya Medical Supplies Authority KEMSA board of directors, Kagwe said the move was meant to generate new ideas into management and allow effective operations of such vital health institutions in the country.
He said the ongoing investigations of the tendering process at KEMRI are purely a matter under the Director of Public Prosecution DPP who will soon give the way forward.
“Meanwhile my responsibility is to ensure KEMSA becomes an institution that can operate effectively because it is among the two critical institutions in terms of universal health coverage,” said Kagwe.
The CS said so far 495 people tested positive for Covid-19 in the last 24 hours from a sample size of 4,929 people tested.
“Our positivity rate is at 10 percent. From the cases 482 are Kenyans while 13 are foreigners. 297 are males and 198 are females with the youngest being a one-year-old baby and the oldest 96 years old,” said Kagwe.
He said the total number of positive cases stood at 158,821 and cumulative tests so far conducted was 1,664,435.
The CS noted that Nairobi had the highest positive Covid-19 cases at 92 followed by Mombasa 50 and Kericho 42, while Kakamega, Kwale, Narok, Vihiga and West Pokot having one case each.
Adding that 108,124 had recovered from the disease of which 78,691 are from home based care and isolation while 29,433 are from various health facilities.
He said Kenya has lost 2,707 people cumulatively since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
A total of 865, 897 persons had been vaccinated against Covid-19 country-wide with 502,893 being over 58 years and above.
Kilifi had so far received 9,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine jabs.
He said a total of 1,099,000 doses had been distributed to regional depots countrywide leaving a balance of 21,000 doses at the Kitengela Central Vaccines.
Nairobi bears the highest number of vaccinated people at 264, 490 followed by Nakuru at 58,359 while Lamu and Marsabit holds the lowest numbers at 681 and 601 respectively.