•One cadre must not dominate the composition of the commission as it will create a lot of confusion and gall.
•Uganda's Health Service Commission act of 2005 provides for a five-member team drawn from the health professionals
Nearly all health worker unions now support the Building Bridges Initiative proposal to have a Health Service Commission.
Clinical officers, who are still striking over low salaries, are the latest to back the proposal already endorsed by nurses and doctors.
But clinicians said such a commission must not necessarily be headed a doctor.
They said the current set up at Afya House where medical doctors head nearly all departments and divisions is discriminatory.
"One cadre should not dominate the composition of the commission as it will create a lot of confusion and gall," said Kenya Union of Clinical Officers deputy secretary Austin Oduor.
He said the proposed HSC is a good idea but should be approached with sobriety.
He said in Uganda, the country's Health Service Commission Act of 2005 provides for a five-member team drawn from the health professionals spread across different cadres with a powerful CEO equivalent to a Permanent Secretary.
"Noting that Kenya has gained some significant positive steps in the health system since devolution, it calls for collective responsibility in health care to make improvements as no cadre is super superior," he told the Star.
Kenya National Union of Nurses secretary Seth Panyako recently also said he supported the proposal: “For the longest time that we have served in the union... our proposal has always been one – Health Service Commission, and nothing else,” he said.
The National Nurses Association of Kenya and Kenya Progressive Nurses Association also say such a commission would eliminate recurrent crises that have chocked the health sector for years.
The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union supports the proposal.
"What is good for Kenya must be supported by all Kenyans. HSC is good for Kenyans," KMPDU secretary Ouma Oluga said.
Clinical officers say extensive consultation between health unions, regulatory bodies, professional associations together with the Health Ministry must be threre.
If established, the commission will register all trained health workers, develop job groups in accordance with the various cadres in the health sector and develop promotion criteria that will ensure retention of an experienced health workforce.
However, studies of existing health systems across the world do not necessarily suggest a centralised body for hiring health workers is good.
Most countries are now decentralising their systems, with a protected vote for workers' salaries.
“Transfer the health sector personnel element from county governments to an independent Health Service Commission to enable sharing of the very limited health experts,” says the BBI report.