Senate urges Health Ministry, Governors to end turf wars

September 9, 2015 3:35 pm
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Committee Chairperson Zipporah Kittony urged the two to embrace dialogue and resolve contentious issues since Kenyans were bearing the brunt of the infighting/FILE
Committee Chairperson Zipporah Kittony urged the two to embrace dialogue and resolve contentious issues since Kenyans were bearing the brunt of the infighting/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 9 – The Senate Health committee has urged the Ministry of Health and Governors to end their supremacy wars so as to resolve the crisis affecting the sector.

Committee Chairperson Zipporah Kittony urged the two to embrace dialogue and resolve contentious issues since Kenyans were bearing the brunt of the infighting.

“We must engage because we have the interest of the people were serving at heart. The supremacy has to be reduced,” said Kittony.

Fellow committee member Mohamed Kuti (Isiolo) noted the lack of a clear framework of how the county and national governments interact, saying a forum should be organised bringing together the Senate, Governors and Ministry of Health to develop appropriate rules of engagement.

“There is a clear pointer to the fact you are not engaging and hence all this issues,” he said.

It was during the session meant to address the health crisis in the country, that Council of Governors chairman Peter Munya accused the ministry of deliberately blocking the transfer of Sh2 billion in additional monies to the counties from the World Bank.

“The Ministry of Health declined to sign an MoU for funds borrowed from the World Bank meant for county services. That money is still stuck with the World Bank and the ministry has yet to give reasons for the omission,” charged Munya.

He also claimed that last year, the ministry which manages conditional grants usually allocated to counties especially user fees and maternity services withheld a portion of the money without sufficient reason and thus implored the Senate to probe where the monies were taken.

“Out of the Sh9.7 billion meant for counties, some counties did not get their full allocation. Kiambu County for instance is owed Sh129 million while Kisumu is owed Sh55 million,” he added.

He also accused Ministry of Health of undertaking activities on behalf of the Senate using borrowed funds without prior consultations despite health being a devolved function.

He specifically cited an incident where the ministry had ‘secretly’ initiated a programme with the World Bank amounting to Sh14.5 billion and were only alerted by the National Treasury.

“We discovered that an agreement was about to be signed. We want to thank the Treasury for informing us and they called us for consultations with the Health Ministry but when they were asked to table the documents, the money had been allocated to non-essential functions.”

Munya said most of the money was allocated for trainings while the rest which was meagre was allocated to actual provision of health services.

He also revisited the delayed disbursement of monies to counties and the alleged incitement of health workers strikes by the ministry.

He decried the fact that many counties had been forced to resort to short-term borrowing to pay dues for their staff saying they had even incurred more costs as they had to repay the money with interest.

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