KMPDU, other unions lobby for Health Service Commission, say devolution has failed

KMPDU Secretary General Davji Atella speaks during a meeting with other health unionists on March 2, 2023. [Twitter, KMPDU]

A number of health unions, associations, and civil societies are lobbying for a Health Service Commission that will tackle emerging challenges in the sector.

Led by the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU), the unions say that public health facilities are more unpredictable today than they were 10 years ago when devolution started.

The unions argue that health services in the counties should be taken back to the national government due to lack of proper resources.

"By far the worst matrix affected by Devolution has been the Human Resources for Health. A clear pattern has emerged in the Counties, where there is either no desire or the resources or a lack of both leading to haemorrhage of critical personnel from the Counties without replacement," said KMPDU Secretary General Davji Atella

"Not only has the resource envelope for health services deteriorated but splitting it across 48 Governments has made it difficult to realise economies of scale. It is time for a rethink of strategy," he added.

The unions have now embarked on a campaign to collect seven million signatures to have the constitution amended to incorporate the Health Services Commission.

"It has come to our understanding that we need to have an objective direction that even the governors understand that they cannot run healthcare anymore and we need a Health Service Commission for it," said Atella.

Atella's sentiments were backed by Linda Ugatuzi leader Prof Fred Ogolla who reiterated that counties did not have enough resources to cater for healthcare workers.

"Counties don't have resources to pay doctors, they don't have enough revenue. I urge Kenyans to also help us to collect the signatures required to amend the constitution," said Ogolla.