The government has released Sh6.3 billion to the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) to provide a comprehensive medical scheme for all public servants, including healthcare workers.
The insurance will not only cover the usual medical expenses, but also the entire Covid-19 bills should a medic contract the virus, as well as burial costs in the event of death. County governments have been urged to speedily implement the NHIF medical insurance scheme.
The Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) has also received the nod to release all the Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) stuck at its stores. These details were confirmed by Ministry of Labour Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui and Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary Susan Mochache yesterday during a joint press briefing where they urged doctors to call off their strike planned for December 7.
The decision to effect all these benefits was arrived at after a consultative meeting between the Ministry of Labour, National Treasury, Public Service Commission, Salaries and Remuneration Commission, and the Council of Governors.
Mr Chelugui appealed to the medics to grant the government more time to address their challenges: “Whereas considerable progress has been made to address the health workers’ grievances, it has become clear that the government requires adequate time and cooperation to deal with the more immediate needs.”
Shortly after receiving the 21-day strike notice from the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union, (KMPDU), the Labour ministry formed a multi-agency committee to address the issuess.
A technical team comprising officials from the Ministry of Labour and representatives from the KMPDU, the Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) and the Kenya Union of Clinical Officers (KUCO) was also set up.
“The government is committed to addressing the issues raised by healthcare workers, and therefore call upon the unions to engage with their employers and deliberate on their grievances in good faith,” the labour CS said.
In light of the ravaging second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, the healthcare workers were urged to continue offering their services to the nation.
Nairobi Metropolitan Deputy Director of Medical Services Ouma Oluga, a former KMPDU Secretary General, urged doctors to agree to negotiations.
“The government has goodwill to solve this matter. This is not the time to go to strike but time to (reason) together,” Doctor Oluga said.
Appearing before the National Assembly Health Committee on Wednesday, the KMPDU, through its acting Secretary General Chibanzi Mwachonda, maintained that the strike slated for next week was still on as they had afforded the government more than enough time to engage them and meet their demands, which included the provision of risk allowances and payment of call allowances to all doctors.