Senate Creates New Commission After Medics Issue Strike Notice

  • Nurses at the KNH IDU Unit based at Mbagathi participating in a Zumba class on 28th May 2020.
    Nurses at the KNH IDU-Unit based at Mbagathi participating in a Zumba class on 28th May 2020.
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  • The Senate Standing Committee on Health on Monday, November 30, created a new Health Service Commission to enhance devolved health services.

    The move comes seven years after the inception of devolution which saw health services devolved to the counties.

    It has, however, never been smooth sailing for health workers with governors taking charge of the health purse at the counties.

    "The situation resulted in persistent calls for the creation of a centralised mechanism for the management of Human Resources for Health through the establishment of a constitutional Health Service Commission.

    President Uhuru Kenyatta (third left) with other leaders during the launch of the Universal Health Care programme in Kisumu in December 2018.
    President Uhuru Kenyatta (third left) with other leaders during the launch of the Universal Health Care programme in Kisumu in December 2018.
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    "However, all attempts to establish such a body have so far failed owing to fears that it would offend the constitutional integrity of county governments, and undermine devolution in general, and the devolution of health in particular," read part of the press release from Senate.

    The Senate Committee added that it considered all the issues that have arisen from the various submissions that were made to the Committee by the various health workers.

    The Commission is set to enhance rather than undermine devolved health services according to the Senate Health Committee.

    The move comes after alarming reports of rising cases of deaths among medics, prompting various health worker unions including doctors, nurses and clinical officers to issue strike notices.

    A series of meetings were convened between 19th and 23rd November between the Standing Committee on Health with National and County representatives of various health worker unions and professional associations.

    Among the issues raised by the health workers included lack of comprehensive medical cover, lack of provision of adequate and quality PPEs and lack of priority testing of health workers for Covid-19.

    Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMPDU) Secretary General, Chibanzi Mwachonda, issued a strike notice that was set to begin on December 6 if their demands were not addressed.

    The notice was announced after at least 10 doctors died of the virus in the first two weeks of November alone.

    Members of Senate in session at Parliament Building Nairobi on January 29, 2020.
    Members of Senate in session at Parliament Building Nairobi on January 29, 2020.
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