Manage Healthcare well or give it back to National government – Counties Questioned

Kirinyaga’s Woman Representative, Jane Njeri Maina, has issued a stern call to county governments, urging them to manage the nation’s healthcare system with utmost care or cede control to the national government.

Addressing attendees at a fundraiser in South Mugirango, Kisii, on Saturday, Njeri emphasized the critical importance of safeguarding the integrity of the healthcare system.

“In the National Assembly, we allocated Sh390 billion to counties for the management of healthcare systems and other devolved sectors,” stated Njeri.

She continued, “I urge the counties that feel incapable of effectively managing healthcare to openly admit it. We must then consider transferring this responsibility back to the national government to ensure that Kenyans receive the services they deserve.”

Njeri issued a pointed warning to doctors working in public health facilities while simultaneously operating private hospitals. She demanded that they make a clear choice between serving the public or prioritizing their private interests.

“We cannot allocate funds intended for the service of Kenyans only to have them diverted for personal gain. Doctors must decide whether to focus on public healthcare or their private ventures,” she asserted.

These remarks from the Woman Representative come amidst a doctors’ strike that has disrupted medical services across the country. The striking doctors have voiced concerns regarding the government’s failure to honor the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) reached in 2017.

Among their grievances are delays in the placement of interns, fair compensation for interns, access to postgraduate training, increased doctor employment, and comprehensive health coverage for medical practitioners.

The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists, and Dentists Union (KMPDU) have announced that the strike will continue into the following week.

“The signed CBA, seven years on, is being disregarded, despite being a court order. The government has yet to implement the basic salary outlined in the CBA,” remarked KMPDU Secretary General Davji Atellah ahead of the demonstrations.

“The promised comprehensive medical cover has been renounced, interns remain unplaced, postgraduate training is in jeopardy, and there’s a severe lack of doctor employment opportunities.”

In addition to addressing healthcare issues, Njeri urged President William Ruto to swiftly address cartels undermining his agricultural support initiatives, particularly those distributing counterfeit fertilizers.

She accused those opposing the fertilizer subsidy program of colluding with cartels to provide farmers with fraudulent products and urged the President to take decisive action to protect farmers from financial losses.