County governments have rescinded their decision to participate in the ongoing re-categorisation of all health facilities in the country.
Less than a week after the Council of Governors (CoG) wrote to the ministry giving it a nod to proceed with the exercise, the county chiefs have retracted their letter.
Thursday, CoG Chairman Peter Munya said counties had rejected the exercise that is spearheaded by the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board (KMPDB) because it is being done unilaterally by the national government.
"The board has no constitutional or legislative mandate to re-categorise any health facility within the counties. The council strongly opposes and will not participate in the process," Mr Munya said at a press conference he held on the sidelines of the Devolution Conference in Naivasha.
The Meru governor said the Constitution gives powers and functions relating to health to county governments hence it is only the counties that can undertake such exercise.
"We are simply telling them to stop wasting public funds; you cannot go out there and start evaluating health facilities without involving us. And if counties require any support from the national government, we shall tell them," he said.
Last week, CoG Chief Executive Jacqueline Mogeni wrote to counties saying the medical board had assured them the re-classification was not intended to transfer county referral hospitals to the national government.
"Following extensive consultation and clarification of issues during a consultative meeting, the members present agreed that it's important that the exercise goes on as this will provide valuable information on the current status of health facilities and help all stakeholders to identify areas that need improvement on health sector," the letter to governors read in part.
Ms Mogeni added; "By copy of this letter, we request the chief executive officer of Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board to confirm that the exercise will be conducted in good faith and will not result in any facility being downgraded or transferred to the national government."
The letter was copied to all governors, Principal Secretary Ministry of Health and National Hospital Insurance Fund managing trustee.
However, Governor Munya said the communication had been done without the consent of governors and a decision had been undertaken to withdraw the letter.
Meanwhile, governors have ruled out any further negotiation with striking doctors, and warned that those who fail to resume work by Wednesday evening will start receiving their sacking letters.
Munya said the doctors had squandered their chance and it is now time to pay the price.