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Judge questions validity of case on devolution of medical services

24 December 2013, 15:05

Nairobi - A judge has questioned petitioners in a suit challenging misinterpretation of a gazette notice by the Transition Authority which officiated devolution of health services.

High Court judge Mumbi Ngugi demanded to know why the petitioner wanted the new suit on devolution of health services be heard yet a similar one was finalized last week by a three judge bench.

Lady Justice Mumbi not yet convinced by the petitioners’ explanation, directed the Transition Authority and the Attorney General to respond to the suit but carefully counter check on whether the suit addresses issues raised in last week’s judgment.

“The Kenya National Union of Nurses is enjoined in suit, parties to consider the judgment and address court in whether same issues have been raised and respond,” Justice Ngugi said.

The petitioners, human rights activists Okiya Omtatah and Wycliffe Nyakina Gisebe told court the two cases are different as the initial one tackled proper management of an illegality in the devolution of health service while the new suit seeks to show that there is a misinterpretation process which has resulted to provision of health services crisis.

The Nurses’ Union Secretary General Seth Panyako and lawyer Enonda Dickson said they needed to shed light into the issues raised as they directly affect health workers hence their interest in being enjoined in the case.

The two activists filed the suit last Friday 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.

Mr Omtatah and Mr Gisebe argue 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 to the current confusing crisis within the health sector.

The 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.

The 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.

The case will be January 13 before Justice George Odunga.


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