17 November 2012

Kenya: Medics Push for Health Service Commission

Nairobi — The Kenya Medical Association (KMA) has called for the hasty formation of the Health Service Commission.

Speaking at the association's newly constructed centre in Upper Hill, National Chairman Elly Nyaim said the commission needs to be set up before the country transitions into a devolved system of government after the March 4 elections.

The speedy setting up of a Health Service Commission to look after the interest of medical practitioners was one of the conditions doctors gave for calling off their strike last month.

"What we are proposing, and we are very strong proponents of this, is that a Health Services Commission would help to alleviate and address the issues that affect particularly the human resources. And we say this with respect to the fact that the people in this sector work very unpredictable hours and they've got some very unique and interesting characteristics in the way they deliver their service.

So if there's a commission that particularly adresses their issues, like there's a Teacher's Service Commission, then it's perhaps easier to understand and isolate some of these things that will hamper proper service delivery."

The commission's functions would include assigning and transfer of public health workers to public hospitals or health facilities according to needs.

The disparity between health facilities in the 47 counties, Nyaim said, would also hamper the devolution of health services in the country.

"We have quite a bit of disparity. If you take Wajir County and you take Nairobi County, the disparity is very big. So even though there is an effort to devolve, we need to become more structured so that we're sure that even as we roll out these structures, there's equitable distribution. So that the person in Wajir, does not suffer as compared to the person in Nairobi."

President Kibaki is expected to officially open the KMA Centre which comprises office and residential blocks on Tuesday.

The facility was built at a cost of Sh2 billion. The last was handed over to the KMA 28 years ago. The centre Nyaim said," is bound to ensure that The Kenya Medical Association is empowered financially and is thus able to carry out its stated mandates in a better and more efficient manner.

This will also translate into economic gains for the membership in terms of dividends and sustainable income."

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