Editorial: Why the Health sector should never have been devolved

The health sector is visibly on its knees since its implementation into the county governments – By Gerald Gekara.

After an enraging debate on why Kenya’s nurses have never been paid their salaries, one is left to wonder how effective the county health department is.

During the week ending 31st July, Uzalendo News unraveled an expose on the state of the health sector that has been plunged into a money-making affair, amid the Coronavirus pandemic.

However, guns have been pointed to the wrong direction on this. County officials are solely to blame for not settling dues owed to nurses and health workers.

Kenya’s health system has recently encountered a range of chronic stressors including drug shortages, understaffing, and underfunding.

However, devolution has proved to be the paramount stressor.

Yearly, the county health sector is required by law to submit a budget detailing its proposed expenditure, of while most of the monies are marked for salary payments.

But this seems not to be the case. The Kenyan health workers have been undergoing endless confrontations with the police officers while addressing their plight of unpaid salaries.

As if that is not enough, various reports have indicated that county health facilities have been poorly equipped to handle potentially fatal situations.

In our previous article, the shame of counties the Uzalendo News team highlighted counties that had only 1 to 5 specialized ICU facilities.

As the referendum team drums up support to award political positions to key allies, maybe Kenyans and other policy makers should reconsider voting out health as a county function and delegate the docket back to the Ministry of Health.

There must be careful and advanced planning in handling this docket that holds Kenya’s lives dearly.

In planning, the government should ensure that emergency and other essential services are maintained, threats between staff are minimized, and that the government respect and honor agreements.

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