State declines to pay county health workers Covid-19 allowances - Beaking Kenya News

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Friday, 15 May 2020

State declines to pay county health workers Covid-19 allowances

Health CS Mutahi Kagwe
Counties will now have to reorganise their budgets to give Covid-19 medical emergency allowances to their staff.
The payment of the county governments’ health workers is estimated at Sh2.3 billion.
In a letter to the SRC chairperson Lyn Mengich, Treasury CS Ukur Yatani has asked the Health ministry to provide clarification on the cadres of health workers who do not have medical cover for the matter to be handled on a case by case basis for proper costing.
According to the CS, provision of medical cover for 15,000 health workers in 22 county governments not currently covered in any other medical scheme is estimated to cost Sh500 million.
The SRC on April 28 approved the implementation of the allowances and other benefits for three months with effect from April 1, estimated at Sh3.4 billion.
In a letter to Yatani, Mengich said the national government and the counties could proceed and pay health workers allowances.
Mengich said the Sh3 billion announced by President Uhuru Kenyatta last month as a special package for health workers will pay their allowances, welfare and insurance. The amount will cover April, May and June.
“Payment of Covid-19 medical emergency allowance for staff at the Ministry of Health, national referral hospitals and the Kenya Medical Research Institute is estimated to cost Sh556.4 million, while provision for psychological support to health workers during Covid-19 crisis to cost Sh20 million,” the letter reads.
According to Yatani, the World Bank has provided Sh6.35 billion to the ministry for Covid-19 surveillance, care, treatment and  purchase of PPEs for health workers in national and county facilities.
An additional Sh3 billion was provided to the ministry through the supplementary estimates in the 2019-2020 financial year.
The CS said the above allocations should be used to cater for the approved expenses.
“We, therefore, propose that funding of Covid-19 medical emergency allowance for staff at the national level and other welfare benefits be met from existing allocations and any shortfall that may arise be funded through reallocations within the existing budgetary provision of the Universal Health Coverage.”
Health care unions have since rejected the allocation, saying it is not addressing the directive of the President that the money be used to pay frontline health workers.
From the approval, doctors, dentists and pharmacists will be paid a monthly allowance of Sh20,000 while clinical officers, nurses and lab technologists and technicians will be paid Sh15,000.
Others who will receive Sh15,000 include biochemists, chemists, medical entomologists, medical parasitologists, medical lab officers and physiotherapists.
Public health, dental, pharmaceutical, orthopaedic trauma, medical engineering, nutrition and dietetics, orthopaedic technologists and technicians will receive a monthly allowance of Sh10,000.
Paramedics including community health officers, community health assistants, health promotion officers, health records and information officers, as well as their assistants will all be entitled to Sh10,000.  
Also entitled to Sh10,000 allowance are medical social workers, nutrition and  dietetics officers, occupational therapists, public health officers, radiation protection officers, radiographers, drivers and mortuary attendants.
Support staff such as cleaning supervisors, hospital support staff and boiler assistants will get an allowance of Sh5,000.

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