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Clinical officers' union demands budget for UHC absorption

 KUCO Secretary General George Gibore gives an update on clinical officers' strike, May 9, 2024. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

The Kenya Union of Clinical Officers (KUCO), is now vowing to press on with the national strike until its members’ demands are met.

The union is faulting the government for not honouring an agreement with it.

It is also demanding for conversion of all  contracts for the 8500 Universal Health Coverage(UHC) staff,  from the current renewable status to permanent and pensionable terms.

Speaking during a recent peaceful procession held in Nairobi as part of the union’s agitation, KUCO Secretary General, George Gibore, called on the Council of Governors and the Ministry of Health, to allocate funds for the absorption of UHC staff and programmes, and implementation of clinical officers Health Risk Allowance.

“We are not celebrating to be on strike, we are not happy with our health CS, we are unhappy with those who are supposed to make decision on behalf of the governors to allocate funds in promotion of health sector,” said Gibore.

He also disclosed that clinical officers only need Kshs 4 billion to transition to UHC, which will be for the benefit of Kenyans who are unable to access medical services from private hospitals.

 “We have been having deals with both national and county government, more so the one for 2021 in regards to our risk allowance and they have refused to fulfil, if you cannot deliver on that then you have no business being in the ministry of health,” said Gibore.

Gibore insisted that the union has had an agreement under the Kericho Declaration which was to harmonise terms of employment for all workers, which has not been honoured.

“We have had agreements with the ministry including return to work of 2021 and we agreed that they are going to enhance the risk allowance for clinical officers from Sh3,000 to 15,000 since 2021 they have not done so,” said Gibore.

KUCO chairperson Peterson Wachira, on his part,  emphasised that the industrial action underway will not relent until the union’s demands are achieved.

 “Today we are here to fight for professional dignity, we here to fight for professional respect… That is why we have come out as all health unions because our people are being undignified we are discriminating our UHC workers, UHC interns and national TB and HIV programs,” said Wachira.

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