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Home / Health & Science

Health workers censure SRC stand on pay perks

HEALTH & SCIENCEBy JECKONIA OTIENO | Sun,Apr 12 2020 00:00:00 EAT
By JECKONIA OTIENO | Sun,Apr 12 2020 00:00:00 EAT

 Most people have failed to follow guidelines on keeping safe social distance, which has left many exposed to the risk of contracting Covid-19 in Korogocho market. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Health workers have lashed out at the Salaries and Remunerations Commission (SRC) over its opposition to allowances meant for those involved in the fight against Covid-19.

Nurses and clinical officers have criticised the move by the commission to write an advisory to the Council of Governors (CoG) against allowances given by some counties as ill-timed.  

The National Nurses Association of Kenya (NNAK) says SRC’s letter will deny health workers the much needed support they deserve during these hard times when Kenya is fighting to contain the spread of the pandemic.

Wrong time

Covid 19 Time Series

 

“While we appreciate its statutory obligation, the timing and the language of the circular from SRC is uncalled for. The SRC Chairperson may be working normally probably from her comfort zone at home,” retorted Alfred Obengo, the President of NNAK.

In the letter addressed to CoG Chair Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, the SRC advises against counties giving allowances without what it terms as proper structures.

The letter signed by SRC Chair Lynn Mengich states: “As part of the measures, Machakos County government in particular has introduced additional special allowances of between Sh5,000 and Sh20,000 per month to their health professionals based on their duties with effect from April 1, 2020, without seeking proper advisory from the Commission.”

The letter said whereas the commission is cognizant of challenges faced by the health professionals in fight against Covid-19, it is concerned due process has to be followed in the introduction of any new allowances, by seeking advisory from the commission as required by law.

“Award and payment of such allowances without the advisory of the Commission as required is not only unlawful, but is likely to cause inequality in remuneration across the health sector in counties, consequently leading to instability in the sector at this critical time when all counties require adequate health personnel,” read SRC’s letter.

But Obengo, in a rejoinder quotes health CS Mutahi Kagwe’s comments: “You can’t behave normally in an abnormal situation.” He argues that health workers are working abnormal hours in abnormal situation, combating an abnormal disease. Obengo said the letter is not just provocative but also insensitive.

Not sincere

Kenya Union of Clinical Officers (KUCO) also termed SRC’s demand as insensitive.

“We find this action as insensitive, hypocritical and an affront against the sacrifices of health workers who have dedicated themselves under extremely risky conditions to safeguard lives of Kenyans,” said Peterson Wachira, the KUCO chairman.

Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union said SRC should rescind the advisory to CoG.

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