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Senate raises concern over health crisis in Kenya

Reproductive Health - By Antony Gitonga
Devolution expert Dr. Mutakha Kangu speaks to Senators Wilfren Lesan (Bomet) and Zipporah Kittony (Nominated) during the opening of a two day workshop for Senate’s Health committee at Enashipai resort in Naivasha. The committee is meeting with stakeholders in the sector to discuss the proposed health bill that is before the senate. [Photo:Antony Gitonga/Standard]

The Senate Committee on Health has termed the health crisis in the country worrying.

With the anticipated doctors’ strike, and frequent industrial unrest in public hospitals becoming the norm, the Senate has now backed concerns raised by health workers.

The committee noted that health workers were working under duress, adding that was bias in hiring and paying of salaries.

The committee was, however, optimistic that the challenges facing the sector could be addressed through the Health Bill currently before the House.

This emerged during a two-day retreat on the bill held at Enashipai Spa in Naivasha, which was attended by various stakeholders.

Addressing the Press, Committee Chairman Mohammed Kuti said the bill would address the issue of human resource, which remained one of the main challenges.

DEEP PROBLEM

Mr Kuti said the committee had visited various counties where it had emerged that the workers faced victimisation, bias in salaries and threats from the political leadership.

“We have interacted with the workers in various counties and there is a deep problem mainly in human resource and salaries disparities, which need to be addressed,” said the senator.

Noting that the bickering between national and county governments was affecting service delivery, Kuti said the new bill would help create harmony.

“We had a meeting with the World Health Organisation where it emerged that the current crisis has seen some decline in various health indicators,” he said.

Bomet Senator Wilfred Lesan said the bill would also address financing.

He attributed the crisis to the manner in which the health function was devolved saying personnel and remuneration were not fully addressed.

The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists’ Union Secretary General Oluga Ouma said their input in the bill had been ignored.

“Health bodies have been created but the workers who are crying foul are not represented in them,” Dr Ouma said.

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