Kenyan churches call for reinstatement of health grants

 Kenyan churches both Catholic and Protestant have urged the Government to reinstate the financial grants for health facilities, that they received until 1996. In a joint memorandum, the Kenyan churches also called on the Government to intervene effectively to the current health crisis, whereby some nurses from mission-run hospitals are "fast moving to the Government-run hospitals and other health institutions due to what they described as "better remunerations". The memorandum was presented to President Mwai Kibaki at State House, by a delegation of church leaders. The church memorandum observed that at the time of the withdrawal of the grants, the Government supplemented mission hospitals up to 2.8 per cent of the Ministry of Health's annual budget. The Churches also asked the Government for exemptions from taxes which have made it difficult for them to provide affordable services to the sick. "Tax payer's money from other countries have been used to assist the churches in Kenya put up their impressive array of institutions and services to Kenyans. Surely our own Government can see its own way to assisting churches serve the citizens of Kenya", observed the memorandum, jointly prepared by the Catholic Bishops, under the Kenya Episcopal Conference (KEC) and the Christian health Association of Kenya (CHAK) of the Protestant Churches. And the church memorandum further points out: "Despite great humanitarian service, the church bares full burden of taxation as would a business being run for profit. This, compounded with the decreasing assistance of donors, and lack of substantial assistance from Government, has had a serious impact on service provision by the Church".

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