Nurses want human resource component of the health sector reverted back to the National Government claiming the devolved units had failed to deliver.
The nurses led by officials of National Nurses Association of Kenya (NNAK) regretted that devolved units lacked the capacity to keep the standards of the health sector uniform across all counties leading to discrepancies that deny the tax payers the services they deserved.
They argued that in some counties, nurses are treated better than others saying the disparity in their management can only be alleviated if they are put under the national government.
NNAK chairman Mr. Alfred Obengo said the Building Bridges Initiative should consider reverting the component of human resources of the health workers to national government and leave development of health infrastructure to county governments.
Obengo castigated county governments for opting to employ nurses on contract basis terming the move as subjecting the health workers into slavery and suffering.
Addressing nurses during closing ceremony of a three-day conference which was organized and held in Murang’a by the association on Friday, Obengo said employing nurses on contract basis denied them privilege to join cooperative societies and chances to acquire credit facilities from banks.
“This trend of employing nurses on contract is very demoralizing considering the nature of work the nurses do in saving lives. Nurses need better employment terms, they have families to take care and the work they do puts their lives at risk,” Observed Obengo.
He highlighted that nurses employed on contract are also not entitled to pension nor gratuity leaving them with nothing at the end of the contract.
Lack of needed medical apparatus in many hospitals, the chairman said usually affects performance of health workers.
“County governments, let them be entrusted with developing medical infrastructure and provision of drugs among other medical equipment; but let the national government take over human resource component of health workers,” he added.
His sentiments were echoed by Murang’a Senator Irungu Kang’ata who noted as senate they were considering taking back health sector to national government.
He said currently every county is working on its standards noting that in some counties health sector is not given needed attention.
“We hear nurses in some counties decide to go on strike due to lack of payments among other grievances. There is no common health standard in all counties and this can only be achieved by taking back administration of health workers to national government,” Observed Kang’ata.
He continued, “we can retain construction of new hospitals and health centres; and issue of KEMSA with counties but take back human resources to national government.”
Kang’ata termed the move to create split management of health sector into counties as irrational and does not make sense saying there is need to reconsider to have central management of the sector especially at this time the country is likely to experience a referendum.
By Bernard Mnyao