Cotu supports calls to revert health care services to national government

The Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) has supported calls to have health services reverted to the National Government.

Cotu secretary-general Francis Atwoli observed that many problems have beset the health sector after it was devolved.

He called for a constitutional amendment to take the sector back to the National Government.

“Let’s revisit the Constitution and arbitrate on the amendments that are necessary, including that on the devolved health system,” he said.

Mr Atwoli said some governors had demonstrated that “they could not handle” the health docket given the countless strikes that have rocked the health sector.

Speaking at a Naivasha hotel on Saturday during a retreat organised by the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF), Mr Atwoli said it was only the National Government that could successfully handle the health docket.


“There are things that you can devolve, but not health,” he said.

Speaking on the sideliners of the NHIF forum, Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) secretary-general Oluga Ouma, said the union supports the absorption of health personnel into the National Government’s payroll.

“The governor can be left to manage the physical infrastructure, equipment and other services but medical personnel should be put in the National Government payroll,” Dr Ouma said.

He said more than 2,000 doctors have so far resigned from public service due to this stand-off.

He said medical personnel continued to resign from the counties saying more than 2,000 doctors have so far thrown in the towel, with three of them having called in quits in the last two weeks.

Dr Ouma alleged that in Nairobi county doctors are earning a “meagre” 23,000, while those serving in Narok County had their salaries halved.

“If pushed to the wall, we shall be left with no alternative but to totally withdraw our services from the county governments and paralyse health services in public hospitals,” he said.

He said the number of deaths had increased from 200,000 before the devolved system of governance to more than 400,000, adding that the health sector was in a “shambolic’ state.