Wellness & Fitness

Protect healthcare workers' rights


Health workers at the Kenyatta National Hospital protest during a past industrial action. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NMG

A broad categorisation of healthcare workers covers clinical and ancillary staff. Clinical workers include doctors, clinical officers, nurses, laboratory and radiology staff.

Ancillary workers include managers, front office executives, patient attendants, storekeepers, janitors, porters, morticians and guards. Each has a critical role.

Healthcare workers’ rights ought to be safeguarded with uttermost fidelity.

Unfortunately, it has not been given the right attention. In the public sector, there is frequent bickering and industrial actions by staff pursuing demanding rights such as delayed salaries, promotions and remission of statutory deductions.

In the non-government sector, this is punctuated by a both intentional and sometimes inadvertent disregard of employment laws that cover discrimination, contractual obligations, protection of wages, rights and duties, dispute resolution, and workplace harassment among others.

The Employment Act of 2007 protects the rights of workers while Article 2 of the Constitution provides that general rules of international law are part and parcel of the law of our land.

As the country gears towards achieving universal health coverage, it is incumbent upon employers to take special cognisance of workers.

The WHO says health workers are key building blocks that include leadership and governance, service delivery, financing, medical products, vaccines and technologies.