Nurses reject BBI proposal on establishment of a Health Service Commission

Nurses have expressed dissatisfaction with the proposal by the Building Bridges Initiative Task force to create a National Health Service Commission that they say will not address their welfare as they had proposed. Leaders of the Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) through Secretary General Seth Panyako said that the health workers were demanding a constitutional commission that would handle issues of human resource, which include payment of salaries, recruitment, redeployment and even discipline. According to Panyako, the commission that has been proposed as a statutory body under Amendment of the Health Act of 2017 is not what the health workers were expecting from the task force, adding that members of the National Governing Council had unanimously voted to reject the proposal in its totality. He noted that the Nurses Union will work with other unions in the health sector to use all the means available to ensure that a constitutional commission is established to look into the welfare of health workers, and that it goes through a referendum as required by the constitution of Kenya. The Union’s Acting Chairman Joseph Ngwasi noted that if the government was committed to deal with the frequent strikes that have been witnessed in various counties in the recent past, then there was need to establish a constitutional commission as proposed by health workers, so that the issue of human resource is coordinated from one central point. Ngwasi said that it was a disservice to the people of Kenya for the government to continue with the current situation where health workers are treated differently, depending on the County they are serving.