The 328,000 teachers in primary and secondary schools will be able to be treated for coronavirus disease following an agreement between their employer and their medical insurer.
The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) yesterday said teachers and their dependants are free to walk to any health facility and be treated for Covid-19 and any other health complications.
“In line with this, the Minet Kenya-led Consortium in conjunction with TSC has been and will continue to support government’s efforts to combat Covid-19 by ensuring that any scheme member diagnosed with Covid-19 and exhibits symptoms, is able to access medical treatment at the designated scheme medical facilities,” said TSC’s CEO Nancy Macharia, confirming that teachers and their dependants are covered for treatment of Covid-19 subject to the medical scheme’s terms and conditions.
The news is sweet to teachers at this time when many insurance companies have abandoned their clients by refusing to pay for treatment of the virus, despite the pandemic rendering many people jobless and eating into their finances.
Macharia, in addition to accessing the service, said other mitigation measures have been put in place in an effort to support teachers and their dependents and to reduce risk of contracting the virus.
“We have introduced of a Covid-19 incidence reporting USSD tool *202*07# for teachers and their dependents and mental health and psychosocial support tele-counselling toll-free line 0800720029,” Macharia said, adding this will allow members to access treatment via telemedicine.
Other measures include delivering drugs to registered chronic patients, distribution of hand sanitisers to members and utilising the option of OTP (One Time PIN) identification to avoid contact and likely infection through the use of biometric fingerprint readers.
“Introduction of facial and eye recognition for identification is on course for rollout in the next two months,” Macharia said.
According to TSC records, teachers in public schools are paid Sh20.6 billion in salaries per year, bringing the annual cost in salaries to Sh247.2 billion.
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The teachers also enjoy a medical cover by AON Minet. The cover cost TSC Sh9 billion last year. It will cost the commission Sh12 billion this year and Sh14 billion next year.
Under the scheme, teachers have their inpatient medical benefits raised to Sh750,000 for those under the lowest job group G (or B5) to a maximum of Sh2.5 million for highest paid staff under job group R (or D4).
Overall, some 1,006,673 beneficiaries are registered under the scheme. Of these are about 313,333 principal members and 178,272 listed as spouses. A total 515,068 children have also been listed as beneficiaries under the scheme. The teachers can also get medical treatment while in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda or Tanzania.
She said the Ministry of Health has continually issued guidelines to ensure that the effects of the disease are mitigated in the best ways possible.
“Additionally, other agencies such as the Insurance Regulatory Authority and the Association of Kenya Insurers also committed to work in support of government efforts by offering some level of cover at the Ministry of Health designated facilities, even where their insurance cover did expressly exclude pandemics,” Macharia said.
She called upon teachers to take Ministry of Health preventive measures seriously, including regular hand washing, using alcohol-based hand sanitisers, wearing face masks and keeping social distancing, at all times.
“Only when all of us exercise responsible citizenship through strict compliance to all mitigation measures shall we overcome the Covid-19 pandemic,” she said.