NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 30 – The Council of Governors Chairman Peter Munya has now turned the heat on the National Government, accusing it of sabotaging healthcare in the counties.
Munya pointed an accusing finger at the National Treasury for delaying funds to counties hence the strikes further telling Health Cabinet Secretary James Macharia to keep off the affairs of counties following a statement that they will not sit down and watch as the health sector plunges into a crisis.
“What we are not going to continue entertaining is the condescending attitude that the Cabinet Secretary has adopted, he needs to understand that he is not in charge of health in the counties, neither is he a supervisor of county government and we do not need his opinion or advice,” said Munya.
The Meru governor further accused the national government of funding health workers unions to initiate the strikes seen in various counties saying this was part of the plot to undermine devolution and give the impression that counties were unable to manage health.
“We know there have been plans to make sure that there are problems within the health sector so that the National government can get an excuse to say we can take over health—even the strikes we have reliable information that some of the union officers have been paid to instigate them,” he asserted.
He lauded the counties for improving the delivery of serviced to the residents and urged the national government to cooperate with them to better serve the people of Kenya.
“Health is better run now than when it was under the national government. We require cooperation because we are still in the same country,” he went on to state.
“Why is it that you don’t hear that let us devolve this because National government is not able to run it properly? Why is that if something is not working you say let us return it to the national government. Is there a rule that when something is not working it can only be done by the National government?” he posed.
He further took a swipe at the Health CS questioning how he spent over Sh200 billion allocated to his docket for the management of level five hospitals.
“He needs to keep his advice to himself and confine himself to his responsibilities at the national level. Part of that responsibility is transforming Kenyatta National Hospital to become a proper hospital – people still share beds and some of the equipment there is not working,” he added.
Munya insisted the Health sector was not collapsing despite the strikes saying the respective counties were addressing the issues.
“Having a strike is not a sign of failure. There is a strike looming form teachers t, does that mean that national government is not able to run the education sector — Should we devolve education to counties since National government has failed?” asked Munya.
He further dismissed the proposal by the unions calling for the formation of a Health Services Commission to resolve HR issues terming it as wishful thinking.
“Every day they are saying it’s only a commission that can solve the problems of health, personnel is not the only issue of health – creating a commission at the national level is impossible because the health sector is devolved, a national commission cannot manage a county government function.”
He told the unions to come to terms with the fact that healthcare was now devolved and instead work with the County governments to come to a consensus over the pertinent issues as opposed to initiating industrial actions.
“We are encouraging the counties that had issues to manage those issues,”
He said governors would hold a forum to get the best practices from those counties that had not experienced strikes so as to ensure in the next financial year issues of remuneration do not come up.