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5 Kenyan startups selected for Bill Gates funded programme



By Judith Gicobi

Five firms from Kenya have been chosen for the Bill Gates-funded Investing in Innovation Africa program.

Health entrepreneurs Damu Sasa, the Pathology Network, Negus Med, Zuri Health, and Xetova were named as participants in the 2022 program in a release dated September 28.

The program, according to the organizers, intends to support health companies in their varied endeavors.

Each firm will be eligible for Ksh6 million in investment under the initiative.

The five firms, according to the program’s organizers, will eventually make it easier for Kenyans to receive cheap healthcare.

                                                        Damu Sasa founder Francis Kilemi at a past event. PHOTO: TECH BUILD

“Digitally-based, locally-led innovations have enormous potential to help address the challenges of access to medicines for historically underserved patients in Africa.

“We are thrilled to see women leaders at the helm of many of these startups, as we know that innovation ecosystems are strengthened by diversity,” Ann Allen, Senior Program Officer at the Bill & Melinda

According to the Gates Foundation, Francis Kilemi invented Damu Sasa, a technical breakthrough that supports the sourcing and transfusion management of blood, while the Pathology Network is an artificial intelligence platform that connects local laboratories with large referral institutions.

While Xetoya deals with medical supplies, Negus Med deals with the supply of medical equipment.

Zuri Health, the other firm, provides online medical services.


How former Health PS Josephine Mburu learnt she was fired



The Sh3.7 billion anti-mosquito net scam at the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KeMSA) has been denied by former health principal secretary Josephine Mburu, who claims she was appointed to her position after the procurement process had already started.

Mburu was testifying before the Senate Health Committee, which is presided over by Senator Jackson Mandago of Uasin Gishu, to address claims of anomalies in KeMSA’s acquisition of long-lasting insecticidal nets.

The former PS said she was wrongfully terminated and demanded a fair hearing when testifying before the Committee on Tuesday, June 6.

“I was not involved in the process. The process had started and I was told the new government had to continue the process. I believe the staff advised properly,” Mburu explained.

“It was a shocker [to me] when l watched on television. l thank President Ruto for allowing me to serve and l would not challenge the president. But l want the truth to come out whether l had a role to play in this scandal so that Kenyans can judge me.”

Mburu has also made it clear that Medical Services, not Public Health, which she was in charge of, is in charge of overseeing KeMSA activities.

“I cannot discuss the board of KEMSA or its operations because it was not in my ministry. KeMSA is not under me, it was under PS Tum. I have no control over what happened there. KeMSA is under medical services which was headed by former PS Tum who has now been transferred to another ministry,” she said.

Mburu claims that she began her tenure in government when the procurement process was getting started. A few weeks later, a member of her staff informed her of an error in an advertisement that was appearing in the daily newspapers.

She claims that after seeking advice from Ministry specialists, she sent a letter to correct the errors.

“l was not involved in the process when KeMSA put the mosquito net tendering advert in the public domain…that’s when the Head of Malaria program noticed the omissions. My letter to KeMSA concerning the omissions did not stop the tendering process as l was only giving clarity l did not stop it.”

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Eggs, smokies vendors banned in Eldama Ravine over suspected cholera case



The Baringo County Government has prohibited food hawkers from operating in Eldama Ravine Town, including those who sell eggs, smokeies, maize, juice, coffee, porridge, and tea.

Eldama Ravine town Public Health Officer D Kangogo stated in a notice that the action was taken in response to a case of suspected cholera illness.

“Following suspected case of cholera in our sub-county, all food hawkers are notified to stop hawking food with immediate effect from 25th May 2023 onwards. The said action contravenes Public Health Act Cap 242 and Food Drugs & Chemical Substances Act Cap 254 be informed hawking food of whichever kind shall be arrested and prosecuted in a court of law,” the notice read in part.

Kangogo requires that all food handlers be medically examined before continuing with business.a

“Hawking of food e.g. Eggs, sausages /smokies, samosa, roasting of maize, budding, Juice, coffee, porridge, tea etc is prohibited. All food handlers should be medically examined. All business premises to provide handwashing appliances with soap and running water,” the notice added.

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“2 years of full pay while working from home? Not anymore!” CS to KEMSA staff



Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha has directed all 200 plus Kemsa workers who have been working from home since the Covid-19 pandemic struct to report to the office.

The CS who has committed to cracking the whip at the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) said no staff will be allowed to work from home anymore.

“I hereby direct, effective tomorrow morning, all staff working for Kemsa, over 200 working from home, report to work,” the CS said.

“I direct the chair, to ensure that your staff understand what is expected of them.”

Nakhumicha labeled it responsible for staff to be working from home for two years with full pay.

Kemsa has been in the news this week since news broke of a botched Sh3.7 billion tender for the supply of treated bed nets to prevent malaria in millions of low-income households.

President William Ruto has sacked the Principal Secretary for Public Health, Josephine Mburu, and the entire board of the government agency.

He has also suspended its chief executive, Terry Ramadhani.

As part of the overhaul of the medical supplies agency, Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha also sent home other affected senior staff working under the National Malaria Programme and Kemsa at the Ministry of Health.

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