COVID STRIKE

Clinicians issue strike notice, demand more money

Union wants health risk allowance harmonised and increased to cushion healthcare workers from financial stress

In Summary

•Further, they want 3,000 clinicians recruited and employed on permanent and pensionable terms to replace those exempted from active duty.

•So far, seven clinical officers have succumbed to the virus, including an intern.

KUCO SG George Gibore addresses the press at a Nairobi Hotel on November 15, 2020
KUCO SG George Gibore addresses the press at a Nairobi Hotel on November 15, 2020
Image: MAGDALINE SAYA

Clinicians have issued a 14-day strike notice over what they have termed as failure by both the national and county governments to look into the plight of frontline healthcare workers fighting Covid-19.

The union held an urgent national advisory council meeting on Saturday to deliberate on the welfare of its members and those of healthcare workers in general.

The union last Sunday had given the government seven days to act on a number of demands among them provision of adequate and standard personal protective equipment to all healthcare workers, failure to which they would issue a strike notice.

 

Speaking at a Nairobi hotel on Sunday, Kenya Union of Clinical Officers secretary general George Gibore said the government treated the advisories with contempt.

So far, seven clinical officers have succumbed to the virus, including an intern.

“It is unfortunate that, as clinical officers devout in service delivery to combat Covid-19, the governments continues to neglect their plight in all sphere including and not limited to, adequate provision of recommended PPE’S and comprehensive medical Cover,” Gibore said.

“This irresponsible behaviour by the governments has exposed many of our members, and in turn leading to increasing Covid-19 infection and mortality among health care workers,” he added.

KUCO Chairman Peterson Wachira addresses the press at a Nairobi Hotel on November 15, 2020
KUCO Chairman Peterson Wachira addresses the press at a Nairobi Hotel on November 15, 2020
Image: MAGDALINE SAYA

The union wants health risk allowance harmonised and increased to cushion healthcare workers from financial stress.

They also want all health workers belonging to the vulnerable groups: pregnant, above 55 years or with pre-existing medical conditions exempted from active frontline duty and directed to work from home.

Further, they want 3,000 clinicians recruited and employed on permanent and pensionable terms to replace those exempted from active duty.

“It is worth noting that, almost all health workers who have succumbed to Covid-19 belong to the vulnerable group of elderly, pregnant and those with preexisting conditions and diseases,” the SG said.

 

He added: “These deaths would have been avoided had the government headed to our advisories and those of WHO to exempt these categories from active duty as with other countries like Ethiopia, Rwanda, Ghana, Egypt and Australia.”

They also want all salaries for UHC staff deployed to counties be paid within the next 14 days as well as all those counties who are yet to pay, adding that the UHC staff have gone for six months without pay.

“Most of our members in the counties like Meru, Kitui and many others have experienced prolonged delay in payment of salaries sometimes up to three months yet they are expected to purchase their own PPEs and pay their medical bills when they contract the disease.”