By Francis Mureithi
The county government is asking the assembly to approve S42 million in its supplementary budget to cater for the health sector and salaries in the current financial year.
House Budget committee chairman Moses Ndung’u confirmed on Wednesday that the amount is part of the Sh374 million supplementary budget that was forwarded to the committee by the executive last week.
“We are going to sit before the end of this week to approve it or make amendments where necessary,” said Mr Ndung’u.
The document seen by the Nation indicates that the department of health will get the lion’s share of the additional funding as the executive is seeking an extra Sh30 million for salaries.
The additional funds for health workers comes at a time when county hospitals are faced with a shortage of health workers. The workers have previously downed their tools due to delayed payment and lack of promotions.
Besides the additional funds in salaries, the health department is also seeking Sh42 million to buy drugs and another Sh29 million for dressing and other non – pharmaceutical items.
A spot check by Nation in Nakuru established that patients in several sub county hospitals were being referred to buy drugs and dressing items elsewhere.
The executive wants an additional Sh2 million for purchase of uniforms and clothing for patients.
The shortage of patient clothing is so acute in a number of hospitals in the county. Save for pregnant mothers and patients going for operation, the rest of the patients admitted in these hospitals use civilian clothes while undergoing treatment.
In the current estimates, the county had not budgeted for purchase of laboratory equipment but in the supplementary budget, the executive is proposing a Sh6 million for their purchase.
The executive wants the House to approve an additional Sh5 million for electricity. It is a new proposal coming at a time when Kenya Power has disconnected supply at the Naivasha sub county offices for lack of payment of Sh800,000.
The daily subsistence allowance in the current financial year is set to rise to Sh4.3 million if the House approves an additional funding of Sh800,000.
The executive plans to engage more causal labourers and it has requested the House to give it an additional Sh2 million. This will increase the annual spending to Sh54 million on casual workers.
Other key highlights in the supplementary budget include an additional Sh6 million in food and rations, Sh4 million for purchase of bedding and linen, Sh5.8 million for maintenance of buildings, stations and non- residential and Sh400,000 for patient travelling expenses.
In a report that was tabled in the County Assembly in August last, the Assembly’s Health Services committee recommended, among others, an increase in the annual allocation of funds to the health department to enable it procure essential drugs and place timely orders to the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (Kemsa).
The committee had carried out an investigation to establish grievances of health workers after they staged numerous strikes.
The county has a total of 385 health facilities including clinics, according to records from the committee.
Source: All Africa