Clinical workers issue Gov’t with irreducible minimums, threaten to strike in 14 days

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The National Advisory Council of the Kenya Union of Clinical Officers (KUCO) has issued a 14-day strike notice citing lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for members and poor treatment from their employers.

This comes after one clinical officer succumbed to COVID-19 on Saturday night.

The union, in a press statement issued on Sunday, indicated that a majority of the deaths within the medical fraternity are as a result of failing to implement health guidelines that would see healthcare workers in the vulnerable group exempted from work.

KUCO National Chairman Peterson Wachira, speaking during the press address, said the loss of one more member who passed on in Kisii – David Makori, a cataract surgeon – now brings to 7 the number of clinical workers who have died from COVID-19 complications.

“We have been asking the government to exempt the vulnerable from duty, the late was part of that…We gave an ultimatum of 7 days but they have turned a deaf ear, no response from employers and our vulnerable continue to be exposed. The government needs to learn to listen to experts because that is not happening,” said Mr. Wachira.

“We are giving a strike notice of 14 days. If they go to court and stop that, we will invoke the occupational hazard act that will force us to leave our work spaces until they are safe. We are demanding, it is not optional, that a Health Service Commission (HSC) must be constituted in amendment of the constitution, we can’t continue to take medical workers lives for a ride.”

Mr. Wachira further stated that the HSC will strengthen devolution, also alleging that money sent to counties for salaries was instead being used for short term contracts.

KUCO Secretary General George Kebore, on his part, said the Ministry of Health had spent millions of shillings to formulate policies for PPEs and COVID-19 management which are not even being implemented.

According to Mr. Kebore, most healthcare workers who have succumbed to COVID-19 are in the vulnerable group, further that these deaths could have been avoided if they were exempted as per World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines.

He added that clinical workers employed under the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) have not been paid for 6 months and have no COVID-19 allowance, adding that in Vihiga County alone 567 healthcare workers have not been paid for 13 months.

Among the irreducible minimums clinical workers now want implemented, failure to which they go on strike, include, provision of adequate PPEs, exemption of all healthcare workers belonging to vulnerable groups, medical cover for members, as well as payment of all salaries for staff.

KUCO is also demanding for health risk allowances, employment of 3,000 clinical officers on permanent and pensionable basis, introduction of the HSC in the health amendment bill, and all promotions be effected and arrears paid as per the Return-To-Work Formula signed in October 2017.

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Source: citizentv.co.ke