Union seeks Sh3b fund for frontline health staff

Wednesday, April 15th, 2020 00:00 |
Richard Kinyua, a health worker in Nyeri county, demonstrates how to handle a suspected case of coronavirus during a drill at Mt Kenya Hospital on Tuesday. Photo/PD/JOSEPH KING’ORI

Hillary Mageka @hillarymageka

Doctors are pushing for creation of a Sh3 billion fund to cover all frontline healthcare workers in the private and public sector.

The fund, they said, should be placed under an occupational injury and disease fund as subsidy legislation in the Public Finance Management (PFM) Act.

They also want relief of Pay as You as Earn (PAYE) for all healthcare workers for 12 months and emergency Covid-19 allowances.

In a memorandum submitted by Kenya Medical Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) to the Senate ad hoc committee on the Covid-19 situation, the doctors union says their members have started undergoing burnout due to the long working hours, saying there is need for provision of accommodation to protect their families.

“We recommend that the government identifies hotels near health facilities that will accommodate medics on duty,” the union recommendations to the  Senator Johnson Sakaja-led committee read in part.

“This is urgent in Kenyatta University Teaching and Referral Hospital, Kenyatta National Hospital, Coast General Teaching and Referral Hospital and other county referral hospitals treating suspected and confirmed Covid-19 patients,” added the union.

The union, through its secretary Chibanzi Mwachoda, also raised concern over the “insensitive” Salaries and Remuneration commission (SRC) advisory to the council of governors (CoG) on extra allowances awarded to healthcare workers on the frontline response to the virus.

In a letter dated April 9 l to CoG chair Wycliffe Oparanya, SRC chair Lyn Mengich advised against counties awarding special allowances without seeking proper advice from the commission. 

On addition of  healthcare workers, the union claims the exercise has been marred by conflict between national and county governments.

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