PROBE

Senators to probe health services in Kisumu

Senate Health Committee will seek to know why health workers were unpaid for four months and hospitals lack essential drugs.

In Summary

•Kisumu owes Kemsa millions of shillings for drugs supplied

•Health committee will seek to know why health workers were unpaid for four months and lack of essential drugs in hospitals.

Kisumu Senator Fred Outa addresses the press on Saturday in Kisumu
Image: MAURICE ALAL

Senators will probe the health workers strike and poor healthcare services in Kisumu, Senator Fred Outa has said.

Outa said thousands of residents are suffering due to poor management of health services in Kisumu.

He cited the just-ended health workers strike over salary arrears that subjected patients to suffering. 

He said the Senate Health Committee will seek to know why health workers were unpaid for four months and hospitals lack essential drugs.

“We must get answers on how the millions of shillings allocated for health in Kisumu are utilised. Residents must get value for money,” said Outa, who is a member of the committee.

He warned that action will be taken against those found culpable for the deteriorating health services in Kisumu.

“Those who have pocketed money meant for health have no place to hide other than jail,” he added.

Outa faulted Governor Anyang Nyong’o for allegedly running down healthcare services in the county.

 

The strike forced those who cannot afford treatment in private hospitals and clinics travel to Kakamega, Vihiga, Kericho and Siaya for healthcare.

Others opted to take home their loved ones home. Outa commended health workers for their effort to return to work after partial payments of their delayed salaries to save patients from dying.

“Patients have suffered for the last four months when the health carders downed their tools to press for their salaries,” he said.

The action taken by the health staffs to return to work as they wait for the county government to sort out pending bills is commendable, he said.

He pledged to ensure county employee salaries are paid on time to avoid strikes. He told Prof Nyong’o to prioritise health issues.

Outa decried shortage of essential drugs in public hospitals even as health staffs resume their duties.

He said corruption has eaten into the health sector in the county exposing patients and the general public to danger.

Outa claimed that the county owes the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority millions of money and is now unable to get essential medical supplies for the county hospitals.

Health workers last week told the Star on condition of anonymity that the situation the lives of those due for operations are at risk.

Outa said public hospitals in Kisumu lack pharmaceuticals and non-pharmaceuticals despite millions of shillings received from the national government.

Outa wondered why there are no essential drugs in health facilities and questioned how the Nyong’o’s administration used funds from the Universal Health Coverage programme.

He also wants Prof Nyong’o to explain why Kisumu owes Kemsa millions of shillings yet there is annual allocation.

Kisumu is among the four pilot counties in the Universal Health Coverage programme.

The county has listed 843,683 (85 per cent) out of the targeted 1.2 million people in the county in the UHC programme.

Kisumu was included because it has a high prevalence of infectious diseases. The other counties are Nyeri, Isiolo and Machakos.

Health executive Judith Attyang said Kisumu is spending Sh63 million in annual salaries on 179 health staff hired to boost the piloting of universal health coverage.

She said the county is keen to improve services to keep abreast with the increased number of people visiting hospitals.

“For us to offer quality health services, innovative approaches are needed to fill the gap in human resources,” she said.

Those to be recruited are community health extension workers, radiographers, medical laboratory technologists, pharmaceutical technologists, nurses, clinical officers and nutritionists.

Since the launch of the UHC pilot, many residents are seeking services from public hospitals has increased.