- One of the issues was the change of their medical cover provider from the National Hospital Insurance Fund to MUA.
- They were also unhappy with recent remarks by Governor Kimani Wamatangi to the effect that they allegedly steal medicines from the hospital
It doesn’t make sense to remove the healthcare workers from a compressive NHIF cover that is sufficient and take them to an inferior cover that nobody understandsDavji Bhimji, the secretary general of the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union
Kiambu Level 5 Hospital medical workers on Friday staged a walkout to protest against a number of issues.
One of the issues was the change of their medical cover provider from the National Hospital Insurance Fund to MUA.
They were also unhappy with recent remarks by Governor Kimani Wamatangi to the effect that they allegedly steal medicines from the hospital and direct patients to their private clinics and pharmacies.
The health workers marched through Kiambu town and handed their petition to the Kiambu county assembly and the governor’s office.
They were joined by Davji Bhimji, the secretary general of the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union
Dr Bhimji said Kiambu has honest and diligent healthcare workers but the county government treats them unfairly.
“Month come month go with salary delayed and the county government must style up and pay every county worker. Failure to pay health workers by the 5th of every month they are going to down their tools,” he said.
“We have doctors, nurses and clinical officers that are under the universal health care programme and they are employed under terms called casualisation and we are saying no to these poor terms. They must be employed under permanent and pensionable terms.”
Bhimji said the union was saddened by the governor’s remarks branding healthcare workers thieves.
Governor Wamatangi has from time to time asked medics who own private health facilities to resign.
He has also accused them of stealing medicines from the public hospital and referring patients to their private practices.
Bhimji said the county government did not involve the health workers in the decision to change their medical cover provider.
“It doesn’t make sense to remove the healthcare workers from a compressive NHIF cover that is sufficient and take them to an inferior cover that nobody understands,” he said.
Bhimji said public hospitals in Kiambu are understaffed, hence, many patients at the end of the day don't receive any services.
We are in the month of February whereas the last batch of medicine was delivered in December and Kiambu hospitals need medicine worth Sh200 million per month. Can Sh60 million worth of medicine last for three months?James Githinji, KMPDU Kiambu chairman,
“There are so many mothers who go to the hospitals and are not able to see the doctors. They are not able to get nursing services or services from clinical officers and the reason is there is a shortage of healthcare workers," he said.
James Githinji, KMPDU Kiambu chairman, denied that health workers steal medicines.
He said the last batch of medicines, worth Sh60 million, was delivered to the county in December.
“We are in the month of February whereas the last batch of medicine was delivered in December and Kiambu hospitals need medicine worth Sh200 million per month. Can Sh60 million worth of medicine last for three months?” Githinji asked.
He said the medicines delivered to hospitals were not the ones ordered and those supplied are not enough.
Only condoms, paracetamol and Panadol were delivered, excluding non-pharmaceuticals, Githinji said.
“Hospital systems are designed so that there is a person who checks whether the medicine ordered was the one delivered with all documentation before entering the store," he said.
"There is another document filled called S11 which shows that the medicine has come out and gone for distribution to treat patients. Where the medicine is stolen should be known and the culprit arrested.”
Patients were stranded as the medics marched out of the facility.
“I came here at 6am in the morning, paid Sh50 [for the] hospital card and I was sent to the laboratory for a urine checkup. It is now past midday and no results nor are we attended to,” Monica Wangari said.
David Kimani said he was only given painkillers at the hospital's pharmacy and was told to get blood pressure medicine elsewhere.
A spot check by the Star established that hospitals received mostly painkillers and condoms. The medicines ordered by the health facilities were not the ones delivered.
Wamatangi was not available for comment as he was attending a Council of Governors meeting in Naivasha.
The health workers were told their issues will be heard on Tuesday after a meeting between their leaders and the governor.
The medics said they will go on strike on Tuesday if no amicable solution is found.
Edited by Josephine M. Mayuya