NAIROBI, Kenya Oct 22 – A protracted struggle by medics in the country to have a Commission which will be responsible for setting national standards for their training, recruitment, welfare, career development and schemes of service, could finally be realised if a Bill proposed by the Building Bridges Initiative is approved by Parliament.
The BBI Taskforce that handed its final report to handshake partners, President Uhuru Kenyatta and Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga, is recommending an amendment to the Health Act, 2017 to provide for the establishment of a ten member National Health Services Commission whose chairperson will be the Health Cabinet Secretary while the Chief Executive Officer shall be an ex officio member and Secretary to the Commission.
“The Commission shall comprise two representatives nominated by County Governors; one person nominated by the Public Service Commission; one representative nominated by health regulatory bodies established under an Act of Parliament; one representative nominated by trade unions of healthcare workers registered under the Labour Relations Act; one representative of faith-based organizations involved in health care; two persons with expertise and knowledge in matters related to human resource management in healthcare; competitively recruited and appointed by the Cabinet Secretary,” the Bill read.
The functions of the Commission shall include to set and regularly review norms and standards on the transfer of health workers at the inter-country level and health workers from one level of government to the other as well as facilitate resolving disputes between employers and health care workers in public service both at the national and county levels and accredit health institutions.
Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists’ Union (KMPDU) has been calling for the Commission as it will be a solution for the turmoil is attributed to the mismanagement of workers across the counties, lack of medical supplies and inadequate financing of the sector.
The funds of the Commission shall consist of monies allocated by Parliament for purposes of the Commission.
“Any grants, gifts, donations or other endowments given to the Commission; such funds as may vest in or accrue to the Commission in the performance of its functions under this Act or under any other written law. Any funds donated or lent to, or gift made to the Commission shall be disclosed to the National Assembly and made public before use,” the Bill states.
The Secretary, who shall be recruited through an open, transparent and competitive recruitment process, shall hold office for a term of three years and shall be eligible for re-appointment for one further term.
“A person shall be qualified for appointment as Secretary to the Commission if that person— is a citizen of Kenya; holds a degree from a university recognized in Kenya; has knowledge and experience of not less than ten years in any of the following fields—law; public administration; or human resource management in healthcare,” read the Bill.
A person who knowingly and willfully, disobeys an order or recommendation of the Commission commits an offense and is liable, on conviction, to a fine not exceeding five million shillings, or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding seven years, or to both.
The Commission shall submit the annual report to the Summit (an inter-governmental meeting between the President and the 47 County Governors), Parliament and County Assemble three months after the end of the year to which it relates.