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Health workers to get Sh3b coronavirus risk allowance

Covid-19 mass testing at Ngei Primary School in Langata Sub-County, Nairobi. [Samson Wire, Standard]

Health workers will smile all the way to the bank following the approval of their long-awaited Sh3 billion Covid-19 allowances as pledged by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The new allowances, ranging between Sh5,000 and Sh20,000 for different cadres of health workers including doctors, nurses, laboratory technicians were to be paid for three months from April 1. The medics had threatened to down tools if they do not get the allowances in July.

Communication from the Ministry of Health indicates the money has been released and the implementation is expected to be done by the counties supervised by chief officers of health.

Slashed

According to a memo from Ministry of Health Chief Finance Officer addressed to Principal Secretary for Health, the cash slashed by Sh200 million from Sh3.4 billion to Sh3.2 billion is expected to cover 47 counties, national referral hospitals, medical cover for some 22 counties not under any scheme, and psychosocial support for health workers.

Some Sh104 million has been allocated for staff attached to Afya House.

Kenyatta National Hospital has been allocated Sh156.7 million, Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital Sh106.6 million and Kenyatta Teaching Research and Referral Hospital Sh12.2 million.

Medical cover for the 22 counties will accommodate 15,000 healthcare workers who are mainly on contract hence not eligible for insurance cover.

Kenya Medical and Research Institute, which is leading in Covid-19 testing, has been allocated Sh8.4 million.

The memo dated June 30 states that the Salaries and Remuneration Commission approved the Covid-19 medical allowance and benefits for frontline healthcare workers for three months effective April 1.

“As per the referred SRC letter, the tabulation of the allowances was Sh3,432,334,000. However, in consultation with SRC and MoH, this budget was revised to Sh3,264,895,000,” reads the memo signed by Health Chief Finance Officer Joseph Muraga.

The memo indicates that in order to effect the payments, the same communication is to be made to county chief officers of Health, as they are the authority to incur the expenses.

This development on how the payments will be done has already been communicated to the counties through a letter from the Health Principal Secretary Susan Mochache addressed to the Council of Governors chairman Wycliffe Oparanya on June 30.

“In order for the ministry to account for these funds, it is recommended that AIE (Authority to Incur Expenses) be done to the counties chief officers of Health as per the schedule from SRC vide letter Ref SRC/TS/COG/3/61/48 dated April 28,2020,” reads the letter from the PS.

In the letter, SRC had stipulated those who are to benefit from the medical emergency allowances.

Extended

Doctors, dentists and pharmacists will get the Sh20,000 while clinical officers, nurses, medical lab technologists and technicians, chemists, medical entomologists, medical parasitologists, medical lab officers and psychotherapists will get Sh15,000.

All other technologists and technicians and paramedics like occupational therapists and public health officers will get Sh10,000.

Other support staff like cleaning supervisors and boiler assistants will get Sh5,000.

Health workers are already pushing to have the allowances extended to December arguing that Covid-19 pandemic is not a three months’ affair.

“On six months extension, that will be negotiated and debated. I cannot make a commitment,” said Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe.

Covid 19 Time Series