Embu MCAs vow to bar health workers from working, owning private clinics

Friday, October 22nd, 2021 17:27 |
A section of Embu County Assembly chambers. PHOTO/BRIAN MALILA

In their effort to improve health services in the county, Embu MCAs have bowed to bar public medical personnel from working or owning private clinics.

This comes as Embu health workers are now in their second week of strike paralysing health operations in the county.

Led by Deputy speaker Steve Simba, the legislators said some consultant doctors working in public hospitals within the county sneak into their private hospitals to earn extra shilling and fail to attend to patients especially in Embu level 5 hospital.

While speaking during a special sitting the Runyenjes MCA Simba revealed that the county Teaching and Referral Hospital has about 65 doctors and more than 40 clinical officers but they were all absent during working hours.

The MCA further asserted that the County Assembly would push for the sacking of truant medical personnel.

Simba regretted that some medical personnel were paid up to Ksh350,000 for working for only a few hours in a month.

He said the same doctors who deny people services at public hospitals are the same people who treat them in the private clinics they refer them to.

County Assembly Health Committee chairman Muturi Mwombo said that he is ready to sponsor a Bill to bar doctors in public hospitals from working at or operating private health facilities because they earn non-practising allowances.

Muturi who is also the MCA for Ruguru-Ngandori challenged his counterparts to support his move to curb double employment by doctors, pointing out that the services at public hospitals are compromised so that patients seek medication in private clinics owned by the same medics.

The Minority Leader Lenny Mwaniki also lamented that the County Assembly always took the brunt of poor healthcare services due
to the absconding doctors and urged for urgent intervention.

On her part, Nominated MCA Margaret Lorna Kariuki said she would support the legislative proposal to have private hospitals employing their independent staff because doctors from public health facilities are deliberately watering services down and diverting drugs bought using public funds to their private clinics.

Kariuki challenged the health workers that feel discontented with the salaries they earn in public hospitals to quit and fully venture into private practice instead of mishandling innocent patients so that they can rush to private clinics.

The members of the county assembly yesterday absorbed themselves from problems dogging the county health sector by confirming that they had allocated adequate funds for drugs and salaries for medical personnel.

They said they will be summoning the top officials in the health department to the House to shed light on why health services in Embu were dying.

"We allocated a lot of money to the health sector, and so we shall be calling some officials in finance and health in this house to offer an explanation,” the chairman of the health committee in the assembly-Muturi Mwombo stated.

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