Teachers got a major morale booster on Monday when their employer announced that they would be allowed to use their medical insurance cover for Covid-19 ailments.
Teachers Service Commission (TSC) Secretary Dr. Nancy Macharia said a Covid-19 incidence reporting tool using USSD code *202*07# has been set up to assist teachers report to the scheme provider any suspected or confirmed Covid-19 cases, to enable them to receive care and support in the fastest way possible.
She urged teachers to continue using the code together with the 24- hour scheme helpline 1528 for assistance and treatment coordination for Covid-19 cases.
“Cognisant of the important role teachers are playing as we grapple with this pandemic, I wish to announce that TSC has negotiated with teachers medical provider, for teachers to be covered for all Covid-19 related illnesses,” said Macharia, who spoke at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development.
“Teachers must know we care for them and that we are together in fighting this pandemic. We are keeping a daily tab on all our teachers and officers.
As an employer, we know the daily status of all our employees and we will support you within our limits,” she said.
The announcement comes as a huge relief for teachers especially after the government announced last week that the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) would no longer foot medical bills for Covid-19 patients.
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe stated that it will be upon Kenyans to foot medical bills for Covid-19 related illnesses since the national insurer cannot afford the exorbitant bills associated with the disease.
“It is not practical for NHIF and private insurance companies to cover pandemics. The cost burden of financing Covid-19 testing and treatment for NHIF beneficiaries both in the national scheme and enhanced medical schemes would not be financially viable since it was not envisaged in the current NHIF premiums computation and the existing benefits package,” Kagwe told the Senate Committee on Health last week.
On Monday, Macharia said teachers are the frontline soldiers in the education sector and have been playing a critical role in managing hundreds of students who have resumed learning.
She lauded teachers for the effort, saying they had approached the new Covid-19 era with an incredibly positive approach, which had given the country the much-needed confidence.
“You are the frontline soldiers in the education sector, yet you keep going on without a complaint. I applaud you and you have my deepest respect,” Macharia added.
She noted that the country has been impressed by the work done by teachers, to assist students to navigate the new regime of wearing masks, social distancing, and washing hands regularly.
“I encourage teachers to not drop off the ball in the quest to make adherence to these protocols a social norm. These practices must be deeply entrenched in the learners’ DNA,” she said.
Macharia also urged teachers aged 58 and above, and those with pre-existing conditions to work from home as much as possible.
She said teachers in this age bracket can be utilized in offering critical services such as preparing schemes of work, teaching aids, and marking, among others, even as TSC assured them of the security of their jobs.
“I want to assure our teachers that the employer is not in the business of dismissing teachers and especially when this is a presidential directive we just want to take care of their health because we want to have you for long,” she added.