In the wake of recent controversies surrounding the transfer of outspoken healthcare workers in Meru County, concerns over the state of the critical sector appear to be approaching the boiling point.
Moses Baiyenia, the current Clinical Officers Union Secretary General, has been transferred to a non-existent health facility along the volatile Meru-Isiolo border shortly after criticizing Governor Kawira’s approach to drug distribution.
This move has raised serious questions about the willingness of Kawira Mwangaza’s administration to address serious issues, both existing and emerging, that affect healthcare services in the County.
Baiyenia’s criticism of Kawira’s leadership style gained significant traction in the month of June this year, when he accused the Governor of prioritizing public relations stunts over the well-being of the people.
“Hakuna dawa zimefika kwa hospitali. Tunaona boxes tu kwa picha na mitandao,” Baiyenia declared, expressing concerns that essential drugs were not reaching healthcare facilities as promised.
The Meru Clinical Officers Union Secretary General also decried the lack of professionalism during the drug distribution process, alleging that the new drugs were mishandled during photo sessions, potentially leading to the loss of their potency.
“Drugs have prescribed storage processes. You cannot expose them to the scorching sun for hours in the name of waiting for the Governor to commission them. We are already receiving reports that indicate potential loss of potency in the process.” Baiyenia stated.
A few days after this statement, Baiyenia received a transfer letter to Ndumuuru along the volatile Meru-Isiolo border, with the transfer reason being ‘service demand.’
The transfer has sparked criticism from healthcare professionals and concerned citizens, who perceive it as an attempt to silence dissenting voices within the healthcare sector.
Baiyenia’s woes are not an isolated incident. Just a month earlier, Dr. Denis Mugambi, another vocal health worker, was also transferred to Kunati, a remote area bordering Tharaka Nithi County.
Dr. Mugambi’s transfer came on the heels his continuous criticism of Governor Kawira Mwangaza’s healthcare policies and unfulfilled campaign promises.
During the August 2022 campaign period, Governor Kawira Mwangaza pledged to revolutionize the health sector in Meru County once elected into office.
However, in a surprising turn of events, the healthcare budget was been slashed by a staggering Ksh 120 million, directly contradicting the Governor’s initial commitments.
Concerned citizens are now calling on the Meru County Government to reverse these decisions and engage in meaningful dialogue to address the pressing issues within the healthcare sector.
They argue that silencing healthcare workers who express legitimate concerns undermines the progress of the healthcare system and ultimately impacts the well-being of residents.
“These incidents raise serious concerns about the government’s attitude towards those who dare to speak out and question the state of healthcare services. It’s a dangerous trend that will ultimately cost us many lives.” says Timothy Mboroki.
“By suppressing dissenting voices, Kawira’s regime risks alienating those on the frontline of healthcare delivery and missing out on valuable insights to improve the sector.” says Dottie Makandi.
“Allegations of mishandling drugs during distribution and photo sessions are troubling. It puts the patients’ lives at risk. The Governor must learn the art of open dialogue with healthcare workers and other professionals if she really intends to identify and address challenges facing the electorate.” says John Ituamwari.
The County administration has defended the transfers, stating that they were routine decisions aimed at optimizing healthcare services across the county.
However, critics argue that the timing of the transfers, coming shortly after the healthcare workers sharply criticized the Governor, suggests otherwise.
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The author is a Social Media Strategist, a Digital Media Expert with interest in good Governance and Social Welfare. He is also a Mt. Kenya Youth Leader.