NAIROBI, Kenya, May 7 – The Union of Kenya Civil Servants (UKCS) has opposed the caretaker committee appointed by the Prime Minister to take over management at the troubled National Hospital Insurance Fund following the suspension of the entire board and CEO.
Secretary General Tom Odege said on Monday that the caretaker committee was not representative of the interests of civil servants.
In an interview with Capital FM News, Odege said the union should have been given a chance to have its own representative on the committee.
“Whether it’s called stakeholders… whether it’s called caretaker; whether it’s called a board, we want our voice there so that people are not just fighting over our money and we are not consulted. That is something we need not bargain over,” he said.
The caretaker committee to be chaired by Mutuma Mugambi has representatives from the Kenya National Union of Teachers, Kenya Medical Association, Central Organisation of Trade Unions and the Federation of Kenya Employers.
Others will be from the Offices of the President and Prime Minister; the Ministries of Public Service, Finance and Labour.
“We can name several organisations which caretakers have run down. So, when you name a caretaker committee in Kenya, we know you have named people to go and eat,” Odege asserted.
The union at the same time gave the national health insurer up to the end of next month to clean up its house or they would withdraw from the comprehensive medical scheme.
Odege said members must be assured that their contributions were not prone to embezzlement before they renew the contract, which ends in June.
He said they want to see civil servants’ interests represented in the board, allocation of hospitals purely made by members and contributors should not be restricted to particular facilities before they renew the contract.
“I want to assure you, come 30th of June; we might reconsider continuing that scheme because no leader can accept the money of his members to be eaten so blatantly like that. So if there is corruption, we might opt out of the scheme if no arrests are made,” he said in the interview.
The civil servants and teachers’ medical schemes being implemented by the National Hospital Insurance Fund have been engulfed in corruption allegations amounting to millions of shillings disbursed to non-existent and under-equipped health facilities.
“The contract expires on 30th of June then they are expecting more from government. We will resist that because people cannot fight over our money in our absence where no one from our quarters is available to defend the interests of our members. We are not comfortable with that arrangement,” he stated.
“What we want from government is action. What we are seeing is bordering on politics not really defending the interests of the poor worker who is basically looking for health care provision,” Odege added.
The comprehensive civil servants medical scheme began in January to cover more than 220,000 civil servants at a cost of Sh4.3billion in the first year.
It includes unlimited inpatient and outpatient cover in accredited hospitals, with the exception of the higher job groups N to T who would have a specified ceiling.
Staff were also expected to get life insurance and a mandatory annual check up.