Author: PROTUS ONYANGO
AfricaPress-Kenya: Governors have called for immediate release of funds to counties to avert a shut-down of operations and a looming medical workers’ strike.
The Council of Governors (CoG) said counties have not received money for the last three months, which is affecting the delivery of services.
“National Treasury must release the equitable share of revenue in compliance with constitutional petition Number 2 of 2019 that stated that the money should be released without undue delay and deductions,” said Wycliffe Oparanya, the CoG chairman yesterday in Nairobi.
Speaking after an extraordinary meeting with his colleagues, Mr Oparanya said the situation has left governors unable to respond effectively to the Covid-19 pandemic or pay salaries to thousands of workers.
“If the prevailing situation escalates into the fourth month without resources, then we may be staring at a looming shut down of all services in the counties,” Oparanya said, adding that this is a never-ending problem that needs both national and county governments to consult and find a lasting solution.
At the beginning of the 2020/2021 financial year, counties spent four months without money following the stalemate on the third generation formula of equitable shareable revenue.
Oparanya said counties have not paid salaries for all workers including health workers who are now working tirelessly to contain the spread of Covid-19.
Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) has called on both levels of government to ensure they are given comprehensive insurance and other supplies they require to offer services effectively. The union officials said if their demands are not met, they will down their tools in a week’s time
But CoG has appealed to the union to be patient as their demands are being addressed.
“We have taken note of the health workers’ concerns and we confirm that we are in the process of designating well-equipped facilities within counties to be used by the health workers and their families in case they contract the virus,” Oparanya said.
He promised that health workers and their families will also access comprehensive medical cover.
“County government management teams with the support of psychosocial counsellors will hold weekly debriefing meetings for all frontline workers to address the mental and emotional strains arising from Covid-19,” he said, adding that the council will meet with Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe on Monday to discuss issues raised by the health workers.
The governors also promised to launch a countrywide Covid-19 sensitisation programme.
“This will be done using safe means to pass and share the message including using vernacular radio stations and other channels. Counties will together with county commissioners under the county emergency response committees launch the enforcement of MoE Covid-19 protocols,” Oparanya said.