Doctors Protest After Sakaja’s Response on NHIF
Members of the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union(KMPDU) from the Nairobi Branch on Monday, February 13, held protests at Governor Johnson Sakaja’s office over the lack of comprehensive National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) coverage.
Led by the KMPDU Nairobi Branch secretary, Malindi Chao, the healthcare practitioners stated that they were not registered under any medical cover despite contributing up to Ksh1,700 in monthly deductions from their payslips to NHIF.
According to Chao, the officials had earlier spoken with governor Sakaja but he responded that he did not have a deed of novation and therefore could not do anything about the matter.
A deed of novation refers to a legal contract that dissolves an old agreement and replaces it with a new one. It’s also called “a covenant not to enforce” or “a covenant not to sue.”
A screengrab of KMPDU Nairobi Branch secretary, Malindi Chao (Centre) and other officials protesting in Nairobi CBD in February 2023.
Moreover, Chao appealed to the government to not only issue the medical officers with a comprehensive cover but also clear all the payment arrears from the previous months.
“Many doctors are being detained in the hospital because of bills they cannot pay. We were informed that the Health Principal Secretary, Josephine Mburu, was aware of the protest and that the matter would be addressed by 8:00 am but nothing was done.
“We want to be covered and the arrears cleared. We don’t just want to be covered and we still have arrears that have pilled up over a long period,” Chao lamented.
Additionally, the officials indicated that efforts to reach the leaders in charge were futile pleading with President William Ruto to ensure that all doctors were able to access proper medical care.
“We are talking to you President Ruto, we want you to defend us because we are really suffering. We give care which is needed but cannot access the same care we give,” the KMPDU’s Nairobi Branch secretary added.
The doctors stated that they had presented a petition to the county assembly demanding that the leaders responsible for their suffering ought to be held accountable.
KMPDU Nairobi branch issued a statement on Sunday, February 12, announcing that all county health facilities would have no doctors available to attend to patients.
“We will be converging at the Governor’s office due to the lack of NHIF comprehensive insurance cover. We wish to notify residents of Nairobi of the above matter and request them to seek services at the Kenyatta national hospital,” read the notice in part.
Earlier in December 2022, governor Sakaja and his Tharaka Nithi counterpart Muthomi Njuki, met KMPDU national officials in their capacities as Chairpersons of the Council of Governors committees on Labour and Health respectively to address the issues of working conditions of doctors.
After the meeting, KMPDU Secretary General Davji Bhimji stated that the two sides agreed to meet again to resolve all outstanding issues raised during the meeting and agree on the framework for implementation.
Governor Sakaja and KMPDU officials after the meeting held in his office in December 2022.