Court to rule on devolution of medical services
23 December 2013, 11:00
Nairobi - The
fight by health workers against devolution of health services to counties took
a new twist with a fresh petition seeking to stop the process on Friday.
activists filed an urgent suit claiming that the distribution of health
functions from national referral facilities to county health facilities is
unconstitutional and are challenging a gazette notice effecting the transfer.
Omtatah and Wycliffe Nyakina Gisebe argued that devolution of health services
means that distribution of health functions is to be divided into sections
between the national government and county governments and has resulted in the
current crisis within the health sector.
unconstitutional actions of devolving health services has seen health workers
in the national referral health service withdraw their services resulting to a
major crisis in the provision of health services and has led to deaths that
would have been prevented, other Kenyans who depend on Level 2 to Level 5
national referral health facilities are bound to suffer irreparably,” said
argue that with devolution in health services, the national government is
assigned national referral health facilities while county governments are
assigned county health services which include county health facilities and
activists argued that the Transition Authority, the Attorney General and the
Council of Governors operationalized the distribution of health functions to
counties through a legal notice published in the Kenya Gazette on August 9,
contrary to schedule 4 of the constitution on the distribution of functions
between the national government and county governments.
alleged illegal legal notice purports the transfer of Level 2 to Level 5 health
facilities that constitute the national referral health system from the
national government to the county government.
to the two activists, national referral health facilities are the
infrastructure for the national health referral system and they include Level 2
to Level 6 health facilities spread across the country therefore county health
facilities are those established and are operated by defunct local authorities
under the Local Government Act.
Transition Authority, the Attorney General and the Council of Governors have
contravened and violated the constitution in as far as they have devolved Level
2 to Level 5 national referral facilities,” the activists said.
Omtata and Mr Gisebe alleged that Kenya’s national public health care referral
system is structured in a step wise manner and that these levels include
Community facilities, dispensaries, health centres, district and sub-district
hospitals, provincial hospitals and National hospital.
workers have indicated that they will join the suit and claim that they are not
against devolution but are however opposed to the transfer of their salaries
from the national government to the counties which have no proper structures to
effect the transfer.
suit was filed two days after the court dismissed another suit by health
workers challenging the in availability of proper structures in the transfer of
their services to counties.
suit at the industrial court which obtained orders stopping the strike and the
health workers’ Union officials to respond is set to be heard on Tuesday.
Isaac Lenaola directed that this new case be heard on Monday by the duty
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