Nairobi doctors stage demo outside Sakaja's office


Doctors in Nairobi protest outside Governor Johnson Sakaja's office over lack of a comprehensive medical insurance cover.

Photo credit: Lucy Wanjiru | Nation Media Group

Medical services in some public hospitals in Nairobi County were disrupted on Monday morning after doctors staged a demonstration over their medical covers. They said the county has not given them a comprehensive medical cover.

The doctors, who picketed outside Governor Johnson Sakaja’s office, were from Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital, Mbagathi Hospital and the Pumwani Maternity Hospital.

They said their comprehensive medical cover from the national insurer has not been renewed since July 2022.

Dr Deogracious Maero, the Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists Dentists Union (KMPDU) chair, Nairobi Branch, said that since the new government took over, county doctors have been paying their hospital dues out-of-pocket as their National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) contributions have not been remitted.

Photo credit: Lucy Wanjiru | Nation Media Group

In a statement by the union bosses, they alleged that the Nairobi County executive attempted to transfer the comprehensive medical insurance for doctors from NHIF to a private insurer without consulting them.

“We pay Sh1,700 every month but we do not get treated. We do not need a private cover but a comprehensive NHIF cover,” he said.

Malindi Chao, KMPDU Secretary General Nairobi Branch, said that patients who need services from any of the three hospitals should go to Kenyatta National Hospital.

“We have tried to coordinate with the County and used diplomacy, but that has not worked. We were given a brief medical cover for like two weeks, and then NHIF suspended it. As we speak, doctors are not in the hospital. We are here to get our rights. We are giving services that we cannot get,” she said.

Having sent a notice of staging peaceful protests on Sunday evening, the union was told that the Health ministry’s Permanent Secretary was aware of their plight and would deal with the issue by 8am on February 13.

“We all have checked the NHIF system and it is still not working. We not only want to be covered, we also want our arrears cleared because some of us are being detained in hospitals because they cannot pay the bills,” Chao said.

Chao told the press that the KMPDU Nairobi union bosses had a meeting with Governor Sakaja who told them that ‘his hands are tied’.

“Our governor is a very honourable man, he told us that he can’t do anything because he has no Deed of Innovation. We want to know where that Deed is,” she said.


Doctors in Nairobi protest outside Governor Johnson Sakaja's office over lack of a comprehensive medical insurance cover.

Photo credit: Lucy Wanjiru | Nation Media Group

Dr Maero said that the doctors will picket every day until they get a comprehensive medical cover from the national insurer.

“We want to tell Nairobians that they may not get services from doctors during the day in the mentioned hospitals until the County reacts to our plea. You may, however, get services at night,” he said

“Ever since the transfer of deeds was returned back to Nairobi City County from the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS), our doctors have been suffering, and we can’t let this go,” he added. 

The union leaders presented a petition to the Nairobi County Assembly with hope of having it discussed by county officials, serving them with eight demands, all of which are related to their medical insurance woes.