Government to form unit to address health crisis in counties

October 8, 2015 2:53 pm
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Cabinet Secretary James Macharia says this will help resolve the issues that have constantly resulted in strikes and also smoothen engagements with County Governments which have accused the National Government of sabotaging the sector/FILE
Cabinet Secretary James Macharia says this will help resolve the issues that have constantly resulted in strikes and also smoothen engagements with County Governments which have accused the National Government of sabotaging the sector/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 8 – The Health Ministry is in talks with the Public Service Commission to form an administrative unit within the commission to deal with Human Resource concerns in the health sector.

Cabinet Secretary James Macharia says this will help resolve the issues that have constantly resulted in strikes and also smoothen engagements with County Governments which have accused the National Government of sabotaging the sector.

“I can confirm we have discussed this with the Head of Public Service and he is in support of it. We now want to engage the other stakeholders including the Council of Governors so that they don’t think we are trying to take away the function,” said Macharia.

He says the administrative unit will comprise representatives from the Council of Governors, the Public Service Commission and the Ministry of Health.

He also acknowledged the concerns of the health workers in the advent of devolution saying it was human for one to be anxious and uncertain over the fate of their job.

“The fact that their files were being moved from Afya House to the counties caused tension; there were also long standing structures in Afya House yet the counties have none,” he pointed out.

He said the human resource element of health workers needed to be urgently addressed calling on Governors to be open to talks.

Health workers have been lamenting over the counties’ inability to promote and train them further decrying the lack of opportunities for growth in counties.

Macharia who has been accused by Governors of leading the onslaught against the County Governments said it was important to loosen the ‘tight knots’ between the two levels of government to ensure service delivery to the people.

“Devolution came and it’s here to stay and if there are any bottlenecks or roadblocks which can be dealt with individual levels of governments, this should be done…it appeared as if the Executive was fighting the Executive yet we have on client,” said Macharia.

He noted the importance of building confidence and trust among the Governors who were likely to read mischief in the plot.

“I would like to extend an arm of goodwill to other stakeholders. I know it appeared as if the Executive was fighting the Council of Governors but our desire is to promote adequate healthcare to the client,” he said.

He cited the case of Brazil whose health function was devolved 18 years ago but is still undergoing several challenges saying the Kenyan case was already on the road to recovery.

“We would be sort of naïve to think we could have devolved and not had the teething problems,” he stated.

“That patient sitting in the benches in a rural hospital somewhere doesn’t not know the difference between County and National Government they only need healthcare service provided, and we need to provide it at the highest level.”

He said it was impossible to come up with a Health Services Commission as proposed by the health workers unions as this was unconstitutional because health is a devolved function.

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