Delays by the national government to disburse funds to the
47 devolved units is a recipe for a looming crisis that is bound to spell doom
to service provision across the country.
The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) says the cash crunch currently being witnessed in counties has crippled operations to the extent of even affecting the pending payment of salaries to workers who provide crucial services such as medical personnel.
“As it stands today, close to 40 counties have neither paid healthcare workers their salaries nor remitted statutory deductions. The few that have managed to pay salaries have made arrangements with banks for overdrafts and loans, which in the long run attract hefty interests, thereby burdening the taxpayers; these are funds that would otherwise have been used to purchase essential drugs,” says KMPDU Secretary General Dr. Davji Atellah.
“It has been ten over ten years since healthcare was devolved in Kenya, but there is still no streamlined framework to ensure healthcare services function efficiently,” lamented Dr. Attellah.
He decried numerous blame games between the national and county governments concerning finances, drugs and equipment acquisition as well as employment of healthcare workers terming them detrimental to healthcare service provision countrywide.
To avoid the incessant blame games, the doctors’ umbrella union is once again demanding for the establishment of a Health Service Commission that will be mandated with handling all matters related to the healthcare workforce nationally.
Further, it wants the national government to pay healthcare workers directly from the exchequer and that a budget be set aside for annual recruitment of additional healthcare workers.
The union’s demands coming at a time the Anne Waiguru led Council of Governors (CoG) has pointed an accusing finger at the national treasury over its delays in disbursing funds to the 47 devolved units.
According to CoG, the national treasury is yet to channel to counties a total of Ksh. 92 billion for the 2022/2023 financial year, a move it says has greatly hampered service provision to the citizenry.