Ruto: Why I Flew Back to Kenya to Attend Opening of MEDS Lab in Syokimau

President William Ruto has revealed the role that Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha played in his decision to jet back into the country early from France.

Speaking during the launch of the Mission for Essential Drugs and Supplies (MEDS) Microbiology Laboratory in Syokimau, Machakos County, Ruto stated that he received a phone call from Nakhumicha who urged him to attend the event.

The President noted that his attempts to persuade the CS to allow him to continue fulfilling his diplomatic responsibilities abroad proved futile as CS Nakhumicha insisted on his presence at the launch.

President Ruto was on a two-day trip to Germany and France to foster bilateral ties with the two nations and also advocate for a global consensus on climate action ahead of COP 28 to be held at the United Arab Emirates from November 30 to December 12, 2023.

Health CS Susan Nakhumicha (left) meets President William Ruto at State House, Nairobi on August 1, 2023.


Susan Nakhumicha

“Yesterday, I got a call from CS Nakhumicha and she was very insistent that this function must go on, now I know why.”

“I tried to explain to her that I was away (in France) but I didn’t manage ( to convince her),” he stated amid the audience’s laughter.

While making her remarks, CS Nakhumicha revealed that she was a member of the MEDS institution for nine years, hence why the project remains close to her heart.

” When I gave you the invite, I knew it was short notice. But there is one thing I didn’t mention (to him). I was a member of this institution for close to nine years. I’m happy you have made it here.”

According to the CS, the project will play an integral part in the provision of medical supplies across the country.

“Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) serves 60 per cent of the supply chain and MEDS serves 20 per cent so both are essential in the provision of health services in the country,” she pointed out.

She highlighted that the launch of the new laboratory would also assist in ensuring the quality of locally manufactured products and subsequently boosting sales of local products – one of the key focuses of the Kenya Kwanza administration.

“The lab we’re unveiling today completes the equation. We launched the community health promoters with medical kits and we launched local manufacturers,” she noted.

“As usual, there are people who are hesitant to use locally manufactured products and the big question is quality. Therefore, the lab we launch today fills the gap in quality. This institution will serve Africa and beyond.”

In his speech, President Ruto highlighted that stakeholders in the health sector would deliberate on regulations for the pricing of health insurance charges this coming week. 

He noted that this would provide clarification in terms of what each category of people would pay moving forward.

“CS Nakhumicha will tell you that beginning this week, we will be having conversations on regulations that will inform what kind of charges people pay on health insurance. Religious leaders who met me earlier want to be part of that conversation and I say welcome. That conversation will regulate how much the president and Mama Mboga pay. My suggestion is the pay to be commensurate to your income,” the President added.

President William Ruto (centre) and Health CS Susan Nakhumicha tour the Mission for Essential Drugs and supplies’ (MEDS) Microbiology Laboratory in Syokimau, Machakos County, on November 22, 2023.


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