- At least 45 health workers have been infected with the disease in Mombasa alone.
- Their risk allowances remain low, with each going home with a paltry Sh3,000 every month.
Health workers at the Coast want compensation from the government when they contract Covid-19 while on duty.
At least 45 health workers have been infected with the disease in Mombasa alone.
Speaking during a meeting with the Senate Ad-hoc Committee on Covid-19 on Tuesday in Mombasa, the health workers petitioned the government to declare Covid-19 an occupational disease.
An occupational disease is one that can infect a health worker in the line of duty and one is usually compensated.
In Kenya, occupational diseases include tuberculosis and hepatitis.
"It is high time Covid-19 is declared an occupational disease so that workers can be compensated whenever they contract the disease," said Kenya National Union of Nurses Mombasa secretary Peter Maroko.
Maroko said data about health workers in Mombasa is hard to come by because the county is secretive with information.
Kenya Union of Clinical Officers deputy treasurer Dennis Karani said most of the clinical officers are deployed in Covid-19 isolation centres where they spend a lot of time with patients.
However, their risk allowances remain low, with each going home with a paltry Sh3,000 every month.
Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union Coast deputy secretary general Niko Gichana said a number of new doctors are yet to be put on comprehensive insurance yet they are now working in risky environments, especially with the advent of Covid-19.
At least 43 health workers cannot access their health insurance cover.
He said most counties at the Coast, especially Mombasa, have a problem remitting statutory deductions including NHIF.
"This means whenever doctors or other health workers get sick, they are unable to access the same services they give because they are not covered," Gichana said.
Delayed salaries also affect the morale of the health workers, the practitioners told the Senate committee chaired by nominated Senator Sylvia Kasanga.
The health workers reiterated the need for the Health Service Commission, saying it will better manage the health function even though it has been devolved.
Kenya Health Workers Society's Kofa Edwin Abio said most health sector problems are encountered because in most cases policymakers do not involve the health workers when drawing up policies.
"If only they involved health workers more in their policy documents," Abio said.
Kasanga said they will put to task Mombasa county health officials who will appear before them on Wednesday to respond to issues raised by the health workers.
"Some of these issues we are hearing now should not even be there in the first place," she said.
Edited by Henry Makori