, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 23 – The Transition Authority has downplayed concerns by doctors and nurses over their pay once health services are devolved to the Counties.
Chairman Kinuthia Wamwangi has told Capital FM News that the national government had agreed to facilitate payment of health workers over the next six months to give County governments enough time to prepare the workers’ pay roll.
The medics had threatened to go on strike in July claiming that the County structures were not prepared to handle workers’ pay yet the government wanted to immediately devolve health services.
“Sh210 billion has been transferred to County governments and that money includes the pay roll; that means the salaries of the workers. But preparing or managing the pay roll is a process and that is what the national government will continue to do,” he said.
Wamwangi added that the monies would be ring-fenced to ensure that it was not spent on items other than the salaries.
While justifying their reasons for the upcoming strike, the health workers also claimed that concerned government agencies including the Transition Authority had declined to lend them an ear.
But Wamwangi dismissed these allegations saying he already explained the situation to officials of the nurses and doctors’ unions.
“We can’t be available to every individual person in Kenya; we work through organised groups. It will be impossible, for instance, for me to talk through every individual journalist otherwise I would live all my life talking to individuals,” he quipped.
Doctors, clinical officers and nurses of Kenya had vowed to go on strike in July to protest an alleged plan by the government to devolve health services without laying down the required infrastructure.
The medical personnel argued that the government was rushing through the process without setting up clear criteria on how they will be paid once their services are devolved to the County structures, beginning next month.
“The government can decide which hospitals they want to build and where; they can decide which drugs to purchase. All we are saying is that the processing of salaries has to be done centrally until the Counties demonstrate the ability to do it,” explained Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentists Union Chairman Victor Ng’ani.
The National Nurses Association of Kenya had also expressed the same concerns with Chairman Jeremiah Wainaina adding that the government did not consult the medics.