The Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) Jackson ole Sapit has called on the government and Kenyans to review whether it was the right decision to devolve the health sector.
Archbishop Sapit on Sunday said there is need to decide if the sector should be handled by counties or if it should be reverted to the national government.
According to the archbishop, the health docket is as equally important as the security docket, education sector and the agriculture docket.
“This is one area which as a nation we need to review whether it was the right decision to devolve the health sector, we need to think down and decide if it should be handled by the county governments or by the national government just the way we are handling the security and the education sector,” said Archbishop Sapit.
He said every Kenyan has a responsibility to ensure that those who cannot afford quality health care in private hospitals access them in public hospitals as many patients are languishing in hospitals as the doctors’ strike continues.
The archbishop asked the health stakeholders — doctors, governors and the national government — to hasten the process of ending the strike, which has now lasted for a month.
“I know of counties who because of lack of capacity and lack of qualified people in those counties have employed social workers to operate as nurses which is unacceptable, social workers are better placed when they are serving as counselors in hospitals and in support groups but not as nurses,” he said.
Stop the suffering
Archbishop Sapit said as the new year begins, the government and the doctors should negotiate to stop the suffering in public hospitals.
Effort by the Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of Health, county governments and the doctors to end the strike have failed.
The doctors have stayed put and have since refused to end the strike demanding that the collective bargaining agreement they signed with the Ministry of Health in 2013 be met first.
The court has since found the doctors’ union, Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) guilty of disobeying a return-to-work order.
The archbishop asked the government to come up with a way of handling the sector to prevent future strikes.