The heated matter of discussion in the country at the moment is the Building Bridges Initiative(BBI).
The proposals have drawn mixed reactions from politicians and citizens alike. For this reason, I feel that I should delve into this matter on my own behalf and as the KEPHSA(Kenya Pharmacy Students Association) chair.
The BBI report contains a nine-point agenda. There are many proposals made under each agenda and on paper they look geared towards the betterment of our beloved nation.
However, my attention is drawn to one of its pillars, the ninth one, Devolution. The 2010 Constitution created a devolved system of government whose aim was to decentralize power and increase access to service across the nation. In line with the constitution, health, amongst other vital functions was devolved. County governments were charged with the responsibility to hire and fire health professionals and since then this process has largely been a sham. County bosses and their juniors have continued to ignore the demand of quality pharmaceutical care by citizens by employing very few, if any, of the pharmacists since the implementation of health as a devolved function.
To the rescue, the BBI report proposes the formation of the Health Service Commission through its 163rd(A) recommendation. If passed, health would remain a devolved function. However, the human resource element would be transferred to the Health Service Commission.
It’s this proposal that I agree with. For one, the people at the helm of the commission would be health professionals who understand the need for pharmacists in healthcare delivery. As a result, more pharmacists will be employed.
Further, Universal Health Coverage (UHC) proposal by the World Health Organization (WHO) demands are likely to be met under this new dispensation. UHC proposes that all individuals and communities receive health services without suffering financial hardship. I will explain. The BBI report proposes that the allocation of the total revenue to county governments be increased to 35% of the total national revenue or the budget. This taking into the account the fact that health is a devolved function is a welcome proposal. This allocation, if used properly, will mean more health services for the people.
Pharmacy students have not always been on the forefront on matters they deem political. However these matters touch on the profession we all love, and by extension our day to day lives. We cannot escape the rigors of these politicians and of course the consequences that accompany them.
As such, it’s my encouragement to move that involvement in these discussions are necessary and vital for overall development of a person.
Furthermore, it begs the question, specifically who are the individuals who are going to form the Health Service Commission? I opine that these members should be drawn from the cadres of health sector as they are more experienced in these matters.
It’s also imperative that awareness of this BBI report is enhanced. I can say with absolute surety that most students and even professionals have not read the report and even extensively debated its Implications.
It therefore follows that regulatory bodies have a role to play in this through sensitization of their members on the same by organizing workshops and inviting presentations on the same.
Ladies and gentlemen, politics shape our lives. We need to get involved in this and shape our future as a profession.
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