Health workers complaint withdrawal of NHIF cover amid COVID-19 threat

Health workers complaint withdrawal of NHIF cover.

The Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacist and Dentists’ Union (KMPDU) is crying stinking over the withdrawal of the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) cover for its members.

The union which has decried poor working conditions for frontline healthcare workers is demanding a comprehensive insurance cover in the wake of the threat posed by coronavirus.

KMPDU Chair Samuel Okoro says the move is unreasonable as its members contribute 1700 shillings every month for the medical cover.

“NHIF has declined to renew the comprehensive civil service cover for workers under county governments. This has left healthcare workers who are currently on the frontline of Covid-19 fight, with no insurance cover. This goes against the UHC principle of financial protection against catastrophic out of the pocket expenditure” he said.

The doctors held a briefing even as the government commenced talks with health workers union to avert a looming strike called by the workers beginning Monday.

Health workers have shelved a nationwide strike as they await the outcome of the negotiations with the Ministry of Health.

The union is further calling on the national and county governments to address a myriad of challenges facing its members including salary delays, stagnation in promotions, poor working conditions as well as lack of quality and adequate protective gear.

KMPDU further accused the two levels of government of playing politics and blame game at the expense of the welfare of health workers.

“We have noted the continued conflict between the two levels of government. A health service commission will be the best welfare package for health workers. Moreover, the commission will address industrial disputes by standardizing implementation of public service principles and guidelines for all health workers” said Okoro.

They want the commission to be included in the referendum bill 2019 that has been published by parliament.

With the country infection cases having surpassed the 800 mark, the union now wants the government to kickstart the stalled employment of more health workers.

The Secretary-General Dr Chibanzi Mwachonda says medical staff across the country are stretched beyond capacity and are yet to receive the welfare package announced by the President adding that majority are unable to seeking alternative housing hence exposing their families to the virus.

“The workers on the ground are strained due to rising number of Covid-19 cases…moreover others continue to be quarantined as a result of exposure to the virus” he said.


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