, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 8 – The Union of Kenya Clinical Officers (UKCO) has threatened to go on strike Tuesday if consultations between the Council of Governors and the Transition Authority fail.
UKCO Chairman George Gibore said union officials were supposed to have a meeting with the Governor’s Council on Monday but that if these talks failed to reach a consensus then they would go on strike.
Medical officials have been complaining about the manner in which the Transition Authority and the Governors’ Council have been handling devolution of health services.
A statement signed by the union’s officials on Sunday argued that the process of devolving health services was inconsistent with the Constitution because no legislation had been established yet to oversee this process.
“Up to this day, no legislation has been enacted to guide devolution of health. No existing health law as much as mentions the word ‘devolution’,” they argued in their statement.
The statement which was signed by other union officials added that sustainability of quality care would not be guaranteed if the country lacked proper regulation of the devolution process.
The medical officers further claimed that tribal, clan and county of origin considerations were being used in deploying them which undermined the spirit of nationalism while at the same time leading to loss of revenue.
“Health workers who do not originate from particular counties have been rejected and sent back to the Ministry of Health for redeployment to their native counties,” they alleged.
Union officials also expressed concern at the process of reclassifying hospitals without proper guidelines arguing that it was pulling back reforms in the provision of health care.
According to the medical personnel, this has led to some provincial hospitals being confined to specific counties.
“The other counties in the region that used to share ownership of the hospital find themselves suddenly dispossessed of the rights to the only already established health institution in the region,” said Gibore.
They further maintained that the process of devolving health services had been rushed and there was need to set up correct facilities before such an exercise could be undertaken.
The medical officials have in the past complained about the process of devolving heath noting that it was still not clear where they would get their pay check from.
“As law abiding citizens, we wish to reiterate that we are committed to proper, full and constitutional implementation of devolution but are opposed to the hurried haphazard manner in which it has been carried out leading to anarchy in the Ministry of Health,” they said.