Comprehensive health devolution – a really bad idea
Tucked away on page 6 if today’s Daily Nation (3rd Sept 2013) was this very interesting piece. Bodies representing medical practitioners nationally are seeking to stop the gazetting of the comprehensive devolution of health services to the counties.
Now this may be dismissed by some as a jubilee ploy to stall devolution….. but this is an extremely simplistic, thoughtless way of looking at things.
The plan to comprehensively devolve all health services to the county is insane. The education sector was extremely careful to avoid comprehensive devolution and those in the health sector ought to have worked equally hard to convince the nation that devolving health comprehensively is a bad idea.
When the current breed or governors and senators were MP’s a bill was tabled in parliament that would have enabled all county hospitals (then provincial and some District) to be nationalised – receiving support from the central government, like Kenyatta National Hospital. But feeling that their power was being reduced, the MP’s refused to pass the bill- they wanted to be future governors with our health in their hands.
Health programs which include infant vaccinations, family planning…. all the way to equipping theatres has been left to the county governments to decide. The county government will pay salaries, buy drugs and equipments for all health facilities within their county….. how will this work?
How will programs like NHIF or HSSF work in this devolved system?
Would you rather listen to governors banging tables, wanting more power or the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union along with Kenya National Union of Nurses as well as the Kenya Health Professionals Society, who have filed this petition? The later are associations of people who know how the health systems in this country operate.
This is not party politics but the health of the ordinary citizens at stake. Let us not politicise it into anti-devolution etc shenanigans and look deeply into the issues at hand.