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Sh3bn emergency allowance for frontline health teams released

Tuesday July 07 2020
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Health Principal Secretary Susan Mochache who has confirmed that her ministry has finally released Sh3.4 billion for allowances and benefits for frontline healthcare workers dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By ANGELA OKETCH

The Ministry of Health has finally released Sh3.4 billion for allowances and benefits for frontline healthcare workers dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Health Principal Secretary Susan Mochache said the funds were voted under the ministry as current grants to State agencies and other levels of government.

County governments will receive Sh2.3 billion for the health workers.

 They will also get an additional Sh20 million for psychological support to the health care workers.

RECIPIENTS

State corporations that will also receive part of the money include Kenyatta National Hospital (Sh157 million), Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (Sh107 million), Kenyatta Teaching Research and Referral Hospital (Sh12 million) and Kenya Medical Research Institute (Sh8 million).

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The ministry has also allocated Sh500 million for medical cover for 22 county governments that are not covered in any medical scheme.

“We would really wish to see that our soldiers, who are in the frontline and helping us with the fight against this disease, are working in peace and their welfare is well taken care of. We are also going to take care of their psychological needs,” Ms Mochache said.

HARMONISE ALLOWANCE

Earlier, 17 cadres of health professionals had demanded the release of their three-month risk allowance that President Kenyatta awarded them in May.

The professionals have also demanded that the risk allowance be harmonised considering that some are more prone to infections than others.

“This was long overdue and we welcome it. However, we still want the ministries of Labour and Health to come together and harmonise the allowances,” said Mr George Gibore, the Kenya Union of Clinical Officers secretary-general.

He said some 230 health workers have been infected with the virus — clinical officers at  49 per cent, followed by nurses at 33 per cent, laboratory technicians at 17 per cent and others including doctors at one per cent.

SRC APPROVAL

According to an approval by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC), doctors, dentists and pharmacists were to get Sh20,000 each, while nurses, clinical officers and laboratory technicians and technologists were allocated Sh15,000 each.

Public health officers, community health officers, radiographers, nutritionists among others were getting Sh10,000. The support staff deployed in hospitals were to get Sh5,000.

Assess and award

Mr Gibore said the salaries commission should assess and award the allowances depending on the most affected workers trickling down to the less affected.

“How do you award doctors more allowances yet they are not at risk while the ones at high risk are awarded less?” Mr Gibore posed.

He said the country is moving towards a very dire situation and workers in lower level facilities, including health centres, will be at higher risk of infections.

“We will not rest until the allowances are harmonised. They should consider sharing the criteria they used in allocating the allowances,” he said.

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