Crisis looms as healthcare partner plans to lay off 300 workers

CHS CEO Dr Paul Wekesa and Siaya County’s CEC for Health Dr Olangi Onudi uncover a CHS plaque during the official opening of the Siaya offices. [Courtesy]
Siaya county’s health sector is staring at a crisis after an external partner announced plans to lay off over 300 employees by the end of this month.

In a notice dated August 15, 2019, Centre for Health Solutions (CHS) staff have been advised to prepare for clearance and hand over to their immediate supervisors.

“This is to notify you that your contract with the Department of Health under MoH-SHINDA project 2018/2019 comes to an end on September 29, 2019. The letter serves as a notice of the same,” read a letter seen by The Standard.

Since October 2016, CHS through its SHINDA project has been working with the county’s department of health to provide HIV services.

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SHINDA, which is a five-year HIV prevention, care and treatment programme, was being funded by the US President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief through the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

CHS has been supporting 119 health facilities in the county.

Residents and local leaders have now raised concern over the fate of facilities that offer vital services to the poor.

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According to CHS’s records, 66,894 people are currently on HIV treatment under the SHINDA programme.

In Nyaguda Health Centre in South Sakwa Ward, The Standard has established that the facility has only one nurse employed by the county government.

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“We have five nurses employed by CHS and all of them have been given notice of contract termination,” said a staff at the facility.

Yimbo East MCA Francis Otiato said most of the facilities in his ward would be closed due to lack of staff.

Efforts to reach the county's health department for comment were futile as Chief Officer for Health Omondi Owino did not respond to our calls and text messages.

According to the 2019/2020 Financial Year budget, the county's health department will spend Sh1.8 billion on recurrent expenditure from a total allocation of Sh2.2 billion.

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Siaya countCentre for Health SolutionsSHINDA projectsHIV