Uhuru assents to Health bill

Mercy Mwai and PSCU @PeopleDailyKe

President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday signed into law the Health Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2018, that proposes various amendments to 13 statutes relating to the health sector.

He also signed the Assumption of the Office of County Governor Bill that seeks to establish guidelines for the swearing-in of new county bosses after they are declared victorious.

The new health law seeks to amend the Pharmacy and Poisons Act (Cap 244), the Medical Practitioners and Dentists Act (Cap 244), the Nurses Act (Cap 257), Kenya Medical Training College Act (Cap 261), the Nutritionists and Dieticians Act and the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority Act.

It will also address the Counsellors and Psychologists Act, the Physiotherapists Act, the Health Records and Information Managers Act and the Clinical Officers (Training, Registration and Licensing) Act.

Under the bill, the Medical Practitioners and Dentists Act seeks to protect the profession and the public from quacks. The  Nurses Act (Cap 257)  seeks to ensure the act is in line with the Constitution and Mwongozo Code of Governance for State Corporations while the Kenya Medical Training College proposes to clearly define sources of funds of the college, among other proposals.

The Health Bill has faced hurdles with some players opposing some of its suggestions. The Pharmacy Students Association of Kenya had urged the President not to sign the bill, and threatened to seek  legal redress should he assent to it.

The governor’s bill, which was sponsored by Kiambu Senator Kimani Wamatangi, proposes that all county chiefs and their deputies be sworn in on the same day, in a public ceremony conducted between 10am and 2pm.

According to the bill, governors who lose in an election must attend the ceremony. After the August 8, 2017 General Election, governors were sworn in on different days with some losers skipping the events.

The new law also seeks to create an ad hoc committee to be chaired by county secretaries to facilitate the handing over process. It will also compel governors to submit an inventory of county assets and liabilities before leaving office, among other proposals. The signing at State House, Nairobi, was attended by among others Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka and National Assembly Leader of Majority Aden Duale.

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