Elgeyo Marakwet health sector being mismanaged
Despite Elgeyo Marakwet county health sector getting almost half of the recurrent expenditure, services rendered to residents are yet to improve due to gross mismanagement of the sector.
According to an audit report tabled at the assembly, the average wage bill of the sector is about 42% of the entire county recurrent budget but this has not translated to improved delivery of services as wananchi still complain of poor services.
Thomas Kigen (Kaptarakwa) who tabled the report said there has been irregular hiring of staff since 2014 which has seen over 90 staff hired resulting to a high rise in the wage bill which is unsustainable.
“Whereas the county advertised for 92 posts in 2014, the County Public Service Board employed 33 more via a letter from the health department without advertising for the same rendering the recruitment irregular,” Kigen said.
He added that the county abused the hiring of 80 nurses who were on contract under the Economic Stimulus Programme by hiring an additional 60 members of staff.
“Among the staff employed there were those employed without an established scheme of service e.g patient attendant, medical social worker among others but who were receiving a salary equal to the professional cadres,” the house was told.
However despite the huge number of staff employed, understaffing was still a major concern in some health facilities forcing staff to work for long periods without going on leave thus affecting delivery of services.
“Staff who want to proceed on leave are forced to spend long periods away from their families and are told to look for someone to replace them before going on leave yet this should be addressed by the department,” the report said.
The report which was commissioned by the assembly to check the rising wage bill in the sector which they noted was a threat to other sectors also indicated that vacancies for people who are retiring in the sector were being replaced silently without advertising.
The report further noted that there were a number of facilities with senior officers like Medical officers and clinical officers but were being manned by officers in lower ranks leading to low morale.
The reported further said there was irregular approval of study leave citing a case of a staff who has only worked for 6 months but was allowed to go on study leave whereas there were staff who have been in the service for more years but were denied the same.
It also noted that there were staff who were paid manually instead of through the IPPD creating an avenue for possible embezzlement of funds.
The county government also came under attack for not funding the facilities. “Apart from drug supplies and infrastructure development, the county has not budgeted for any other health support to facilities,” Kigen said.
“Despite the health facilities having accounts, no funds have been deposited in the accounts and instead casuals are paid through the officer in charge, with no standard payment formula with some being paid more than others,” he said.