KUCO expresses concern over County Governors’ extension of UHC worker contracts


The Kenya Union of Clinical Officers (KUCO) raised concerns after the Council of Governors (COG) went against the national government’s directive on permanent and pensionable contracts.

KUCO officials, including Chairman Peter Wachira, spoke to the media on Tuesday, February 14, about the extension of Universal health coverage (UHC) workers’ contracts by county governors.

The officials were surprised that the county bosses had extended the contract instead of hiring more workers, and lamented that the government had failed to employ 20,000 healthcare workers within the first 100 days, as promised.

Wachira noted that the 8,550 health workers who were supposed to be put on permanent and pensionable terms under the UHC program will now have their contracts extended for three years, and further highlighted the exploitative nature of the contracts.

According to KUCO officials, the UHC contracts are irregular and illegal, allowing employers to take advantage of workers by not providing medical cover, paying them half their salary, and preventing them from receiving training or joining unions.

KUCO General Secretary and Chief Executive George Gibore called on President William Ruto’s government to intervene and advise the governors to respect the workers’ rights.

Gibore demanded the immediate conversion of the UHC contract to permanent and pensionable employment, in accordance with the principle of equality and prohibition against discrimination of workers as outlined in the constitution and international charters.

On December 5, 2022, the COG requested funds from the national government to renew the contracts of UHC health workers, with Council chairperson and Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru stating that the terms of the contracts would be based on market rate salaries.

The governors’ statement followed Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Wafula’s pronouncement that the UHC workers would be retained on a permanent basis.

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