After weeping for doctors, Nyikal now defends his stint at MOH

Seme MP Dr James Nyikal who has been vocal in pushing the government to address the plight of doctors has been forced to defend his stint at the Ministry of Health after he was accused of hypocrisy.

A Twitter user identified as Real Eddie lashed at the legislator for failing to iron out issues affecting the doctors while serving in the ministry only for him to turn the guns on the government years later.

“Dr James Nyikal has been in various leadership positions within MOH since 1987. All these issues facing doctors could’ve been averted had he acted then. Stop pretence and media PR. You are a good example of a failed system,” read the tweet.

The legislator responded with a concession that he offered a lengthy service at the ministry but his achievements were undone.

“I have noted this view that the problems facing doctors should have been solved between 2003 and 2008. In fact it is as far back as 2000 when I was chairman of KMA. Indeed a lot was done especially salaries allowances. My bitterness is, many have been reversed. Do research,” the MP tweeted in response.

Dr Nyikal, who is member of the Parliamentary Committee on Health, served a spectacular scene when he was moved to tears as the committee listened to doctors’ tales in battling Covid-19 on November 18. He termed doctors’ treatment unfair as he tore into the central and county governments for lacking proper coordination of health services.

“The national government, the ministry has policy and standards. Are they able to go to the counties and say this is not according to standards, this is not the policy, we want it to be done differently?

What is the point of a national government that cannot enforce the standards and policies?” he asked.

Issues at hand

The other MPs, Sarah Paulata Korere (Laikipia North) and Joyce Akai Emanikor (Turkana Woman Rep), could also be seen in the two-minute viral video clip wiping off their tears

In an interview with Citizen TV on Monday morning, the MP persisted with the quest to call out the Ministry of Health and counties for bungling certain intervention measures.

Nyikal lamented that there was a lapse in management and not the inadequacy of funds as had been alleged by some governors.

“There is a bigger problem in management than money. I heard Governor Mutua say it’s the issue of money. If it is the issue of money, then why are some counties able to buy insurance for some doctors while others cannot… They are all getting money from the same kitty,” he said.

He proceeded to ask: “There are PPEs stuck at KEMPSA because of people are stuck with legal issues on procurement. Is that the issue of money?”

He revealed that the health committee put aside Sh300 million for the purchase of masks to be distributed to those who cannot afford the commodity like school kids. However, he said that the masks are yet to be bought.

“Improperly done business, the corrupt business will kill more people than the doctors strike. We have to look at that area,” he cautioned.

Dr Nyikal served in various health dockets before being elected as Seme Member of Parliament. He served as Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, chairman of Kenya Medical Association (KMA), vice-chair of Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentist Board in the 1990s and as the Director of Medical Services (2003-2008).

Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) a 21-day strike notice last week as they tabled demands for the government to address. The doctors want medical cover for frontline health workers, exemption of vulnerable medics from Covid response duties, allowances and adequate PPEs.

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