Government urges health workers unions to suspend impending strike

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Labour CS Simon Chelugui

The national government through the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection has appealed to unions representing health care workers in the country to call off the health care workers national strike that is set to begin on 7th December. Addressing the media in Nairobi, Labour Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui said the government is committed to addressing the issues that have been raised by the medics.

The CS confirmed that the Ministry of health has engaged NHIF to offer comprehensive medical cover to all medics across the country, with  Health PS Susan Mochache adding that the government has set aside Kshs 6.3 billion for NHIF to offer comprehensive cover to healthcare workers. As of Thursday, the country had lost more than 30 health workers to Covid-19. 

Further, the government has directed KEMSA to release personal protective equipment(PPEs) worth Kshs 3 billion to cushion health workers in the fight against Covid-19. This comes two days after Members of Parliament approved a report compelling the Health ministry to direct KEMSA to release all PPEs in their stores.

Health unions had threatened to go on strike over the lack of comprehensive medical cover, lack of PPEs among others. However, Chelugui has urged the unions to suspend the strike and give the government time to implement their grievances. On Wednesday nurses joined the list of those challenging the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) with a petition to stop the ongoing signature drive. The nurses claimed that their proposals to the BBI steering committee were not captured in the Constitution of Kenya Amendment bill.

By Jeremy Omondi