Written by Joseph Amunya Otieno
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The Kenya Union of Civil Servants (KUSC) has threatened to take an industrial action if the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) will not suspend the implementation the proposed deduction of new rates from civil servants salaries towards the controversial medical insurance scheme.
Speaking during a sensitization program organized by NHIF on civil servants and disciplined forces medical insurance scheme held at the Lumakanda Teachers Advisory Centre Hall, the Union’s Western Province Chapter Chairperson Mr. Josphat Shikutwa dared the government to moved ahead with implementation of the scheme warning that activities in all public offices will be paralyzed once the civil servants notice the suggested deduction on their pay slips.
“The other day we saw the Minister for Medical Services Prof. Anyang’ Nyong’o saying that they have now increased the rate of deduction, this one our members have told as they are not ready to pay new higher deductions when in first place they have not seen any services rendered since the program started, all they are saying is that if they notice the proposed deduction on their pay slip that is the time they will strike immediately until that thing is removed on their pay slip. In fact civil servants have out rightly rejected this scheme. Let them dare touch on our pay slips for the proposed new deductions this month,” warned Shikutwa.
He said members of the union were not happy with the way the programme was being handled blaming NHIF for failing to involve them right from its formative stages before it fully rolled out the programme.
He said since its inception way back in January members of the union have been contributing to the program but have not benefited in return.
“As usual the government likes going ahead with deductions even without the consent of the civil servants, but to this one we are saying no, we don’t want to enter into a project that will inconvenience our members and we know very well that our members are not getting proper services and that is stand we have taken as a union,” said Shikutwa.
The official further accused NHIF of failing to carry out a thorough feasibility study on the status of both government and private medical facilities before accrediting some and asking members to register with them. The union demanded to know the criteria used by NHIF to select facilities to service the scheme since most of the accredited facilities, especially government hospitals, are in deplorable conditions without adequate drugs and the client are forced to buy drugs from private chemist despite contributing to the facilities..
Shikutwa wondered why NHIF accepted teachers’ demands of increasing their number of dependants from three to four, but was adamant on the request by civil servants over the same.
“We saying that if NHIF is not ready with this project we are demanding that they stop deductions from our members and go back to the drawing board and follow the correct procedure on collective bargaining they make sure that civil servants in hospitals are provided for the physical facilities the drugs and then after they have done that then our members can contribute to this insurance because the same has been done to the teachers. Otherwise, we will not sit at the fence and watch as our members’ money go to waste,” said the unionist.
Shikutwa’s sentiments were echoed by the union’s Kakamega County Governor Mr. Okot Masaba who said the civil servants from the county were not ready to give money to a contractor who was not living to their expectations and aspiration saying that the members were being mistreated at some of the facilities.
He demanded for reinstatement of the money that he claimed had been looted and heaped in some of health facilities such as clinics which were deregister by NHIF, he also called a legal action against all looter civil servants money.
Mr. Okot was accompanied by his treasurer Mrs. Margaret Muchera.
During the one day workshop, officials from the NHIF Headquarters led by Mr. Joseph Barasa, Mrs. Matilda Mwangemi and Hellen Idwasi took civil servants drawn from Lugari, Likuyani and Matete district through the medical scheme.
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