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Kenya Governors blamed for rot in hospitals

By Alphonce Shiundu | April 15th 2015
Health Cabinet Secretary James Macharia when he appeared before the
National Assembly’s Health Committee Tuesday. [PHOTO: JENIPHER WACHIE/

NAIROBI: Health Cabinet Secretary James Macharia Tuesday pleaded with MPs to summon governors over the poor situation of hospitals within the counties.

Mr Macharia said he had no control over services at the county hospitals, dispensaries and health centres because the Constitution had devolved health services save for the referral hospitals and policy issues.

Addressing the National Assembly's Health Committee at Parliament Buildings, Macharia spoke of an "overwhelming challenge" in keeping tabs on the supply of drugs and treatment of patients by the staff in the hospitals under the control of the governor.

"You have the power to summon the governors here to explain the decline in service delivery at the health facilities in the counties. The governors must be brought to account, and I will be happy to come here with them," he said.

He said counties order drugs directly.

But the chairperson of the committee Rachel Nyamai (Kitui South) and MPs Dorcas Kedogo (Vihiga), Eseli Simiyu (Tongareni), Stephen Mule (Matungulu), James Nyikal (Seme) and James Gesami (West Mugirango) were upset with the Cabinet Secretary, because he is in charge of health policy and standards, and counties all over the country have to stick to whatever rules he sets at the national government level.

Dr Nyamai said the situation in county hospitals was worrying, adding that MPs will not try to summon the governors because they "believe the buck stops with the national government".

"You are the best person to handle all questions about healthcare in the country," said the committee boss.

The committee gave the Cabinet Secretary two weeks to table the Health Bill 2015, which introduces major reforms within the country's health policy and standards to make sure people do not suffer in the counties because of poor management of hospitals.


Kedogo, Eseli and Gesami said the problem in the counties is that doctors, nurses and other health professionals are not supervised, and therefore, do not attend to patients.

"I am dismayed that the CS does not know what goes on in these hospitals. If you go there, you will find nurses are not even present. We are clearly not serving Kenyans. I feel ashamed when I see people dying because nobody goes to find out what goes on in these hospitals," said Gesami.

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