Eleven counties stand to lose Sh4.2 billion allocated to level five hospitals yearly if a Bill proposed by a consortium of doctors’ union and former MPs is passed into law.
The proposed amendments to the County Governments Act are backed by Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMPDU) and Boresha Maisha, a non-governmental organisation run by former parliamentarians Priscilla Nyokabi and Florence Kajuju.
If passed, each county will get Sh400 million less each year.
The Bill seeks to allow transfer of powers and functions between the two levels of government under section 187, so as to set in motion a shift in management of Level Five facilities from county to national government control.
Ms Nyokabi, the former Nyeri woman rep, said the two bodies had decided to rewrite the Bill, now renamed the National Referral Hospitals Bill, targeting the transfer of county level five hospitals to the national government under Article 187 of the Constitution that allows for transfer of powers and functions between the two levels of government.
ELEVATE 11 HOSPITALS
“We are petitioning the assembly to pass the law to allow the elevation of 11 level five hospitals to referral status. This will not only ensure that they come under the control of the national government, but that they also receive more funding, staffing and equipment allocations, just like the four national referral facilities,” she said.
Kenya has four referral facilities, namely Kenyatta National Hospital, Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, the National Spinal Injury Referral Hospital, and Mathari Mental Hospital.
In a raft of wide ranging proposals aimed at reforming health sector financing and staff management, the joint petition also seeks to reform the system governing disbursement of funds allocated to hospitals.
Currently, funds allocated to health facilities are sent to the county kitty before being disbursed to various functions, including health care.
The Bill had previously been dubbed the Health Amendment Bill, posing a legal challenge to the sponsors since the Health Amendment Bill 2018 is yet to be operationalised by the Assembly.