Monday, 10 January 2022 13:57

HEALTH IS DEVOLVED, ALLOW COUNTIES THE MANDATE TO IMPLEMENT THE POLICIES AND LEGISLATIONS

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Why stick to other areas in the health docket with some functions overlapping between the two levels of governments (National government and the county governments) yet the sector is devolved, wonder the governors.

This emerged after the governors noted with concern the persistent Policy and Legislative barriers that have hindered the implementation of the devolved function to Kenyans.

The areas affected included the Health Financing for Universal Health Coverage (UHC), Provision of adequate essential health commodities and Emergency service delivery preparedness.

Due to the controversies that surrounds the sector, the Council of Governors, Ministry of Health, Senate, National Assembly, County Assemblies and other stakeholders, with support from USAID, held a two days high level consultative meeting on December 15 and 16, 2021, to deliberate on policy and legislative barriers that hamper implementation of devolved Health services.

From the meeting, it came out that certain laws and regulations that are currently in force were developed before the promulgation of the 2010 Constitution. These include the Public Health Act, NHIF Act, Mental Health Act, Malaria Prevention Act as well as the HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Act among others.

However, some provisions in these laws do not conform to the provisions of the Constitution with some functions overlapping between the two levels of Government, a scenario not envisioned in the supreme law of Kenya.

Speaking during the event, Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Health Hon. Sen. Mutahi Kagwe expressed his concern on the issue stating among other legislations: The Medical Practitioners and Dentists Act, Clinical Officers Act, Nurses Act, Medical Laboratory Technicians and Technologists Act, Pharmacy and Poisons Act, Physiotherapy Act and the Nutritionists and Dieticians Act, that have resulted to overlapping functions in registration of health facilities.

Aside from the laws touching on the professionals in the health sector, there are challenges plaguing other areas as well. For instance, the Public Finance Management Act which is the principal law on the management of funds under the National Government and the Counties.

The Act provides for the establishment of a County Revenue Fund for each County Government and the establishment by each County treasury of a single account through which payments by the various County Government entities are to be made.

Time and again, the Council of Governors has advocated for revision of guidelines on procurement and distribution of drugs and medical supplies, while calling for an overhaul of the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority. At the height of COVID-19, County Governments called on involvement of key players in the health sector to help fill the gap and meet inadequacies in the supply of medical drugs.

This is yet to be implemented, the KEMSA Act still states that a National and County public health facility shall, in the procurement and distribution of drugs and medical supplies, obtain all such drugs and medical supplies from the Authority.

To this end, the high level meeting concluded with a 20-point communique that will see most of the policy and legislative barriers in the health sector collaboratively addressed by relevant stakeholders in the sector.

Read the communique here

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