By: VINCENT AGOYA
The High Court has overturned a government directive that required the release of provisional examination results for licensing 3,000 nurses in the country.
The decision follows an urgent application filed in the court on Wednesday challenging the minister’s directive to have the results released before ”final moderation”.
Nursing Council of Kenya (NCK) board members, led by Micah Onyiego Matiang’, through their lawyer Alexander Jaoko, told the court that the “minister was putting into disrepute the credibility of Kenya’s health professionals before international regulatory bodies”.
The results were scheduled to be released on Thursday, according to an October 16 letter written to the NCK secretariat by the Director of Medical Services, .
It communicated a decision by the CS to order the release of the August 2015 licensing examination results.
The petitioners say the order issued by the CS, through the Director of Medical Services, to have the NCK release the results “provisionally” is an affront to the professional standing of the nursing fraternity.
“It is an act designed to compromise the credibility of the national examination results and ultimately the integrity of the persons who sat for the said examination,” court documents read.
Mr Jaoko said that, firstly, the CS “has no power in law to give such a directive” and secondly, that “there is no provision in law for the release of provisional results”.
“Either a nurse qualifies to practice or does not,” Mr Jaoko told Justice George Odunga during the hearing of an application for a stay order.
He said the release of provisional results would compromise the standards of quality of trained nurses that can only be guaranteed once final results are moderated.
“The nursing profession holds an important stake in the delivery of safe, quality and professional health care to the citizens of this country,” the lawyer said.
He said the licensure examinations are managed by the NCK to guarantee that the people being ushered into the “noble” healthcare service are sufficiently skilled to provide the service.
“This is about licensing an estimated 3,000 health professionals to serve 44 million Kenyans at county and national health facilities,” Mr Matiang’ said in an affidavit.
The court heard that releasing provisional results directly undermines and removes the legal powers of the NCK to scrutinise and authenticate the results.
“The so called awaiting ratification is tantamount to relegating the NCK to a rubber stamp role,” Mr Jaoko added.
The petitioners claimed what was happening was a complete negation of the principles of public service, putting the interest of the citizenry at stake.
After granting the order, the judge directed the suit be served upon the relevant respondents within seven days for an inter partes hearing on November 18.
SOURCE: DAILY NATION