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Economy

Medics back BBI plan for Health Service Commission

 Ouma Oluga
KMPDU Secretary General Ouma Oluga. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Healthcare workers are set to hold countrywide forums to rally support for the Building Bridges Initiative which recommends the setting up of a Health Service Commission (HSC).

Union leaders and various professional bodies within the health sector yesterday announced that they will set up a seven-member team to engage stakeholders in an effort to draw support to the proposal.

Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) Secretary General Ouma Oluga said they have unanimously resolved to support the setting up of the commission.

“We are tired of the problems that are bedeviling our health care system and we are grateful they considered it worthy to recommend it to the BBI. The team will engage everyone to see that HSC is established so Kenyans can stop suffering,” he said.

He added that the commission which could, among others, advise the national and county government on policy formulation, human resource planning and deployment is what the country needs to address what ails the health sector.

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The leaders have however raised fears over its inclusion in the final Bill which will be anchored in law.

Nurses’ Union Secretary General Seth Panyako said the 2010 constitution had the provision for such as commission but the failure to include it in the final draft was a huge disappointment.

“We will continue to push for it until it is amended,” he said.

Mr Panyako said the fact that the body which will register employ, promote, assign and discipline the health workers is a step in the right direction for health services in the country.

“If the proposals by the Building Bridges Initiative are adopted then 80 percent of the problems in the health sector will be solved. This independent commission is something we fully support,” he said.

Dr Oluga said that the union would rely on the unity of all workers to justify to Kenyans the need to have a Health Service Commission.

“It is often reported that public health is failing. All manner of solutions has been suggested ranging from task shifting to public-private partnership. Yet it is very clear that the solution to public healthcare is having the right people, in the right numbers providing the right service,” he said.

Dr Oluga said that it is important for the BBI not to be politicized rather, politicians should use the opportunity to join them in bettering the healthcare system in the country.

The health commission, which will be modelled on the Teachers Service Commission, would assume the human resource function for the medical workers.

Association of Public Health Officers secretary general Mr Bagajo Duba said that the Commission will put a stop to unfair labour practice especially when it comes to remuneration.

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