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Medics move to court after missing out on Covid-19 emergency allowances

By Mireri Junior | May 15th 2020

KAHA lawyer Danstan Omari at a past court hearing. [File, Standard]

Kenya Association of Health Administrators (KAHA) has sued Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) and the Ministry of Health for omitting them in the Covid-19 medical emergency allowance.

Through Lawyer Danstan Omari, KAHA which is a member of Kenya Health Societies Limited (KHPS) says that as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic, President Uhuru Kenyatta announced medical emergency allowance and benefits for frontline health workers at the National and County governments.

The matter has been filed under certificate of urgency at the Employment and Labour Relations Court in Nairobi.

The association seeks temporary orders to stop the implementation of the SRC’s directive to the Treasury ministry in April to pay out the medical emergency allowance until the matter is dispensed with.

“Our prayer is that the court issue conservatory order staying the implementation of the directive until the case is heard and determined,” added Omari.

 They want the court to ensure the matter is dealt with expeditiously either by way of video conferencing either through zoom or skype during the Covid-19 interruption period.

“In view of the Covid-19 pandemic, the court should ensure the application and the petition herein is heard through electronic means,” said Omari.

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The aggrieved workers claim that on April 28, 2020, SRC wrote to the Treasury Cabinet Secretary directing him to pay the Covid-19 medical emergency allowance and benefits for frontline health workers in the national and county governments in the manner proposed.

“Among the 17 cadres forming part of the associations affiliated to the interested party, the commission considered 16 cadres for the award of the allowance and deliberately omitted the applicant without offering any explanation.”

Omari said KAHA was unjustifiably omitted from the list of beneficiaries of the emergency allowance as proposed by President Uhuru yet its members are in charge of supervising the other beneficiaries and responsible for the smooth running of hospital operations.

“SRC Commission has discriminated members of KAHA by unreasonably and arbitrarily denying them their entitlements by way of the extraneous allowances and the risk allowances while making provision for other health workers, “said Omari.

Unjustifiably left out

They say that the SRC’s reliance on irrelevant considerations to deny members of the KAHA their rightful entitlements countermands their guiding principles under law, principles and values of governance and is hostile to the promotion of their rights.

“The Commission’s exercise of their administrative role to grant 16 cadres of the interested party the allowance, risk allowance and extraneous allowances to the exception of the applicant is unfair, unjustified and unreasonable,” said Omari.

Omari says that unless the court helps the KAHA members and call the Health ministry and relevant parties to order, they shall continue to mutilate the constitutional promises to the applicant and frustrate their right to equal treatment under the law.

“Unless this court prioritises this matter and makes a determination as soon as is practicable KAHA members are likely to lose their morale in the fight against the spread of the Covid-19 disease and consequently exacerbate the effects of the virus,” says Omari.

Other respondents are Treasury, Attorney General, Kenya Health Professionals Association and Councils of Governors.

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