Kenya Union of Clinical Officers (KUCO) has highlighted challenges affecting the state of healthcare in Kenya since the inception of devolution.
The past ten years have presented numerous challenges for healthcare providers, the patient as well as the communities at large.
Health workers have had to endure hardships that have led to inadvertent service disruptions.
Speaking at a press briefing, KUCO Chairperson, Peterson Wachira, said that since the inception of devolution, health service delivery has been greatly compromised by shortage of health workers, unavailability of essential supplies and equipment, numerous industrial actions and a shortage of specialized workforce.
He added that the challenges that deny good service delivery in the context of quality, accessibility, safety affordability and coverage are all avoidable.
Wachira further noted that in the ten years of devolution, some of the challenges have been persistent in the decade and have made it difficult to deliver services in the health sector.
“Looking at the challenges we can propose solutions that will be long lasting to enable us achieve optimal health as provided under the Universal Health Coverage, ensuring our citizens do not suffer while trying to access health services,” said Wachira.
He urged the government to assure Kenyans of their health by providing not only curative services but also preventive measures.
“We pledge to work with the new government and offer our full and unreserved support to the realization of the articulate health agenda that outlines a clear plan to revamp the health sector,” he reiterated.
In his remarks, KUCO General Secretary George Gibore noted there has been a shortage of health workers, occasioned by lack of employment policy, inadequate financing and government good will.
He explained that erratic and ineffective management of human resources for health has been manifested by delay in payment of salaries, unjustifiable delay in promotions of health staff, non-remittance of statutory third party deduction, lack of comprehensive insurance cover and poor working environment lacking in basic equipment and essential supplies.
“Our procurement and supply programs for medical products have failed to ensure equitable access, assured quality and cost effective use,” stated Gibore.
Gibore further added that it is unfortunate that the country continues to import pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical medical supplies that can be manufactured locally.
KUCO called upon the new administration to prioritize formation of a joint task force on health, develop a strategy for annual recruitment of health workers, increase the budget allocation to health and develop a strategy for effective Human Resource for Health (HRH) management to better the health sector.
By Ella Elizabeth and Lorna Mukami