We are not interested in managing the health sector – DP William Ruto

DP William Ruto and some of the governors
DP William Ruto and some of the governors

The government has denied reports that it is planning to revert the health sector to the national management if the county governments do not resolve the ongoing crisis.

Speaking on Radio Citizen’s Jambo Kenya programme on Friday, Deputy President William Ruto said that health is a devolved function and cannot be reverted and will continue being managed by the county governments.

He said it was wrong even to think of reverting the sector which has already been fully devolved as per Schedule 4 of the Constitution of Kenya 2010.

The DP said the health crisis being experienced in most parts of the country is as a result of poor resources management by the counties and not the fault of the national government.

“The national government has always played its part by sending money to counties. What they do with the money is not our business. If they pay their staff or not is not for us to follow up,” said Ruto.

He said that the national government respects and will uphold the principles of devolution and will not interfere with the affairs of the counties as this will undermine devolution.

This comes just a day after the Health Cabinet Secretary Dr. James Macharia said that the national government would not hesitate from taking back the health docket if the current crisis is not resolved as soon as possible by the counties.

Dr. Macharia said the national government will not sit down and watch as the health sector plunges into a crisis, a statement that is likely to cause friction between the national and county governments.

“For two and half years, we have been tolerant but there is a limit. We cannot just sit there,” said CS Macharia.

“If there is a total collapse, Kenyans expect us to intervene; Parliament has a role and Senate has a role.”

The sentiments by the Health CS come even as health workers from various counties continue to express their displeasure over delayed salaries.

The health workers from many counties including Nyeri and Nandi last week called off strikes that had paralysed operations in all public hospitals and healthy centres.

Kisii Governor James Ongwae, who is the Council of Governors Health Committee chair, had on Tuesday – while appearing on Citizen TV’s The Big Question programme – accused the national government of planning to revert the health sector.

“There is a plan to revert the health function back to the national government,” said Ongwae.

The health secretary claims the county governments have done little to correct the issues arising from their workers and it is the responsibility of the government to ensure that every Kenyan can access their right to health care, even if it means initiating a process to Amend Schedule 4 of the Constitution which makes health a devolved function.

“We have a responsibility to Kenyan people to solve the problem; the constitution wasn’t done for the heck of it. It was done to serve the Kenyan people,” added Dr. Macharia.

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Story By Koome Kimonye
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