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Doctors lose suit on devolution of health services

Health workers’ unions on Wednesday lost their bid to halt the transfer of health services to county governments.

High Court judge George Odunga dismissed the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union and Kenya National Union of Nurses case.

 

The unions had cited inadequate structures laid out for the transfer of medical services to counties in their case.

“We have considered all the issues raised in the instant application and are not satisfied that the health workers’ unions demands are merited,” the judge said.

Mr Justice Odunga, who delivered the judgment in the absence of Mr Justice Weldon Korir and Lady Justice Mumbi Ngugi, who had heard the case, declined to grant the health workers’ demands but pointed out that the issues raised affect the public.

Shortage of medics

The judge noted that the Transition Authority had not indicated the country had adequate medical personnel before devolving the health services, pointed out the inadequate doctor-patient ratio of 1: 17,000.

“The fact that health services are devolved does not discharge the national government from its obligation as we do not see how the delay in devolving health services will change the situation with respect to poor health services in the short term since the shortage of personnel and poor infrastructure exists,” he ruled.

The unions through their lawyer Simon Makori had alleged that the Transition Authority failed to indicate the standardisation of salaries and promotions, as well as determining the manner in which pensions would be handled by the county governments.

The unions were directed to file their appeal within the next 14 days.