The Chairperson of Health NGOs Network (Hennet) Eng. Mike Mutungi has called on the government to speed implementation of Public Benefits Organisations Act 2013 to help give direction for the health sector. The proposed law seeks to bring more than 350,000 non-profit agencies acting in the public interest and providing benefits to the public under one legal umbrella. Speaking recently during the joint review of 2014/15 Health Sector Performance in Nairobi Eng. Mutungi who is also the CEO of I Choose Life – Africa (ICL), said delay in the implementation of the law is creating unfavourable environment for none-state actors. He said that there is need for all players involved to work together and make the act operational in the first quarter of 2016. “There is need for clear direction to enable us channel our energies to service delivery for common mwananchi. We hope to see the new Health Cabinet Secretary work towards implementing the new law,” Adding that “If you have an environment where none-state actors are not sure about the future, such uncertainties makes it difficult for the health sector.” The country’s cash-starved health sector is banking on some Sh250 billion contributed by the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs).
Some experts argue that without clear guidelines in the running of CSOs, the country risks losing such funds. Ever since the act was signed in 2013, taskforces have been formed to review it without coming up with a clear roadmap on its implementation. Last November, the Ministry of Devolution and Planning gazetted a PBO task force that successfully amended the PBO Act through amendments to the Security Act Amendment Bill 2014. The proposed law provides for the establishment and operation of public benefits organisations, previously known as non-governmental organisations (NGOs). The new law proposes a regulatory authority, similar to the current NGO Coordination Board, and a PBO Federation to replace the NGO Council.