BLAME GRAFT ON AFYA HOUSE
Revelations that the ministry of Health might have lost billions of shillings to graft explain the sad state of affairs in public health institutions at the county and national levels across the country. First, after the Business Daily newspaper broke the story, making public the interim audit report pointing to a possible loss of Sh5.3 billion, opposition leader Raila Odinga weighed in, explaining the shady procurement, tendering and the names involved.
A few days later, ANC party leader Musalia Mudavadi hinted to yet another possible loss of a whopping Sh35 billion meant for equipping the devolved medical facilities for them to offer specialised medication.
This situation, where a few filthy rich individuals steal from the sick, is not only causing bad health in the nation, it is also a chronic bug in the ministry of Health.
Improprieties in management of public funds in the ministry ultimately end up hurting healthcare across the country. When it is not the doctors or nurses striking because of delays in remuneration, it is because the hospitals are underequipped. We have heard of doctors and nurses strike in Mombasa, Machakos, Busia, Nairobi and Kakamega, among other counties.
Early this year, Kakamega residents raised questions about the deteriorating health standards in the county due to impropriety in management and healthcare delivery in local hospitals. Some will remember pictures of patients sleeping on cartons placed on floors at the Kakamega General Hospital.
There were calls for the ministry of Health and the county government of Kakamega to upgrade the hospitals, but nothing much has happened since. The people of Kakamega have been pushing for the opening of the maternity wings, provision of laboratory services and posting of a clinical officer, if not a medical officer, to all county health facilities . We now know why this has remained a pipe dream. Corruption.
It is a disservice to have medical facilities at the county level run by nurses who are not qualified to diagnose and prescribe medication. Since the transfer of the health function to the counties under the new dispensation, a lot seems to be going out of control. Not just at the Kakamega General Hospital but in many hospitals across the country.
The ministry of Health urgently needs to relook at the grievances the public has raised in regard to staff shortage, inefficiency and apathy among the staff in various hospitals. All these factors, compounded, have negatively affected efficiency. They must be addressed as soon as possible.
The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission was established to investigate and prosecute those involved in misappropriation of funds and contravention of Chapter Six of the Constitution.
President Uhuru Kenyatta recently put the leadership of this commission on the spot at the Anti-corruption Summit at State House, Nairobi. He challenged them, together with the police, the Attorney General and the judiciary, to explain why people accused of corruption are not being charged and jailed.
Mr President, if those in charge of these offices are not willing to work, there are many Kenyans of goodwill out here who are able to serve in these positions.
Instead of whining and complaining over inaction, show them the door and bring on board those who will work to end corruption. The first to be shown the door in this regard should be the top bosses at the Health ministry, starting with CS Cleopa Mailu and his PS Nicholas Muraguri, for abetting graft. The buck stops with the leadership and if it fails, they cannot be blaming their juniors when things don’t work. The time has come when leaders must take full responsibility for the deteriorating health standards in this country.
IT IS A DISSERVICE TO HAVE MEDICAL FACILITIES AT THE COUNTY LEVEL BEING RUN BY NURSES