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PS Muthoni appeals to health workers to return to work

The Permanent Secretary for Public health and Professional Standards, Mary Muthoni has appealed to striking health workers to minimise the suffering of patients in our health facilities by returning to work.

PS Muthoni said human resource for health forms a critical pillar in the sector currently on its knees owing to the nationwide strike.

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She admitted that there were pertinent issues raised by the health workers through their union representatives but all this required time to be addressed conclusively.

Muthoni made the remarks while opening a Community Health practitioners forum at a Kisumu hotel Thursday where she reaffirmed that the government was ready to discuss with union representatives on how best to tackle the stalemate.

“It will take time to agree on issues raised by health workers but for the benefit of our country and patients who continue suffering we must exercise empathy and caution.” She pleaded.

The PS Muthoni said the forum organized under the Afya Nyumbani program has so far trained 170,000 Community Health Promoters (CHPs) to help facilitate prevention and promotion of key programmes.

She revealed that so far 2.26 million patients have so far been screened for diabetes and a further 1.6million for hypertension across the country.

Out of the number 41,000 were referred for specialised treatment against diabetes and 96000 for hypertension Treatment in designated health facilities.

The PS further revealed that She 4.5 million households have been registered translating to 22 million Kenyans out of a total population of about 52 million under the Afya Nyumbani Agenda.

“This proves that the disease burden in our households is getting higher prompting the national government to partner with county governments to pay our CHPs (50-50) basis to the Community Health Practitioners who had in the past not been earning such stipends.” she explained.

To this effect, she added, the government has already set aside Ksh2.4 billion to ensure the interns get paid for their work.

However, the PS cautioned that if the ongoing strike persisted up to June 30th the money will be returned to Treasury but this would be unfair to the health workers and suffering patients.

She promised that while the interns would ultimately be issued with practising certificates this was the appropriate time for stakeholders in the health sector to ride on the goodwill of the government.

She said the government was keen to realise the impact of community health intervention by the CHPs by committing to pay Kshs.5000 every month by the national and county governments for which Kshs.6.2 billion has been allocated to ensure attainment and the program’s full potential.

She singled out some of the partners in the programme as; the Global Found, USAID and the latest entrant the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Subsequently, the PS called for continuous engagement and persistent training for the CHPs whom she called upon to remain focused if they hope to reach the goal working as a team.

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