KATHIANI, Kenya, Mar 13 – President Mwai Kibaki has urged health workers to embrace dialogue whenever there are disputes instead of taking actions that will harm patients.
Noting that the recent strikes by medical services personnel greatly compromised the lives of patients, President Kibaki emphasised that dialogue is the best approach in addressing industrial disputes.
“Let us always resort to constructive dialogue whenever there are disagreements and not take actions that will result to the suffering of the patients,” President Kibaki said.
The president reassured that the government remains committed to properly remunerating medical personnel within its economic abilities.
President Kibaki was speaking on Tuesday when officially opened the Mission for Essential Drugs and Supply (MEDS) Centre in Kathiani Constituency, Machakos County.
The president, at the same time, directed the Ministries of Medical Services and Public Health to step up their inspectorate units on a continuous basis to curb supply of counterfeit drugs that are harmful to patients and ensure only qualified pharmacists are employed.
He also cautioned Kenyans on the dangers of over-the-counter drug purchases without a prescription.
“This is a dangerous trend that we must deal with because it leads to complications in health management,” the president said.
President Kibaki, once again, affirmed that his government has continued to give priority to the provision of healthcare services in the country.
“We appreciate that every Kenyan has the right to the highest attainable standards of health, which include the right to healthcare services, as entrenched in our Constitution and Vision 2030,” the president said.
He said the government also recognises that the good health of Kenyans is a necessary condition for the economic and social development of the nation and has continued to invest heavily in healthcare facilities.
President Kibaki pointed out that the health sector receives one of the largest allocations of the national budget, saying the budget of the Ministry of Health and related ministries has more than doubled from Sh20 billion in 2003 to about Sh60 billion currently.
Said President Kibaki: “We have undertaken major construction and rehabilitation works of hospitals and increased the number of health facilities from 4,500 in 2003 to more than 6,000 in 2011.”
The president disclosed that more than 100 health centres have also been upgraded to sub district hospitals; the number of registered doctors increased from 4,800 in 2003 to 7,120 by 2010 while remarkable progress has been made in the provision of drugs and equipment to hospitals.
President Kibaki however noted that in spite of these efforts it was clear that the government could not, on its own, meet all the health needs of the population which has continued to grow over the years.
“Moreover, the cost of healthcare has gone up, meaning that our resources are not adequate to meet the healthcare needs of all Kenyans,” President Kibaki said.
In this connection, the president said the government strongly supported the contribution of other players including the private sector, faith-based organisations and development partners towards complementing its efforts.
He acknowledged the contribution that MEDS has continued to make in the delivery of healthcare services to Kenyans particularly in improving access to essential medicines and supplies as well as training of health workers.
President Kibaki also encouraged more faith-based organisations as well as private sector investors to partner with the government in providing health services.
“This will help improve quality, access, affordability and sustainability of health services to Kenyans,” President Kibaki said.
The Head of State assured faith-based organisations and private sector investors that his government was not only working towards providing a conducive environment for investment but is also providing incentives to those who wish to venture into the health sector.
Congratulating the Mission for Essential Drugs and Supplies for their contribution to the provision of health services in the country, President Kibaki said the inauguration of the new centre will enhance the capacity of the mission in delivering services to Kenyans and the wider East and Central Africa region.
The inauguration of the new Centre coincides with the 25th Anniversary of the mission’s service to the nation.
Addressing the same forum, Vice-President Kalonzo noted that with the creation of conducive climate for investment the church and other stakeholders could significantly supplement government efforts in accelerating development in the country especially the realization of the Vision 2030.
Congratulating the MEDS for such an achievement and commissioning of the multimillion centre, the vice-president said that the project was a sign that the country was headed in the right direction and to greater heights of development.
On his part Medical Services Minister Prof Anyang’ Nyong’o thanked the MEDS for making such a huge investment to the people of Kenya and supplementing government efforts geared towards availing quality medical supplies to wananchi.
During the occasion, Nyong’o enumerated measures that his ministry had instituted to eradicate counterfeit drugs among them closely working with security organs, surveillance at borders as well as involving the Kenya Bureau of Standards to ensure only quality drugs are dispensed to patients.