As the nation continues to battle ravaging predicaments brought forth by the deadly Coronavirus, thousands of Kenyan teachers countrywide are grappling an even deadlier affliction.
For months on end, they have stayed rooted and helplessly watched as the Nancy Macharia-led Teachers Service Commission (TSC) in conjunction with multiple teacher-aligned unions forcefully subject them to substandard medical schemes offered by a fraudulent pan-African insurance brokerage firm known as Minet.
In the multi-billion scam ring, Minet’s hierarchy – through the unsentimental Nancy Macharia – have successfully ‘oiled’ top leaders from the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET), Kenya Women Teacher’s Association (KEWOTA), and Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) to keep shut and allow them efficiently orchestrate their evil plan to milk teachers dry.
To better understand the plight of these voiceless educators and why they want the contract awarded to the incapacitated firm under questionable circumstances in 2019 revoked, it would be best to lay a few numbers down first.
Kenyan teachers in job group B5 ( often referred to as P1 teachers) give out Sh954 per teacher to Minet, while those in Job Group H contribute Sh 1,200 every month.
In Job Group K, the contribution per month per teacher ranges from Sh1860 to Sh1,897, while those in job group L give out Sh2,246 to the firm.
For Job Group M teachers monthly deductions stand at Sh2,688 while those in Job Group N contribute Sh3,044.
To bring these numbers together and get an even clearer perspective, we did the math according to the number of teachers on the official TSC payroll.
The results showed that P1 teachers contribute at least Sh90 million every month, while Group H and K give out Sh33 million and Sh55 million respectively.
Additionally, those in Group L contribute up to Sh74 million with those Group M contributing Sh64 million while Group N contributes Sh21 million every month.
Approximately, the cumulative amount is no less than a whopping Sh337 million every month! This is despite excluding figures of those in job group J, Q and R.
This would mean that on average, teachers contribute at least Sh4 billion a year for a medical scheme meant to offer quality and superior cover which state-owned National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) cannot match.
Therefore, the total amount collected by the medical scheme is much higher than we can imagine.
With teachers forking out such amounts, one would expect first-class health services to the men and women who nurture our children.
Unfortunately, the situation is the exact opposite: teachers, some of whose narrations are featured below, are treated to horrid experiences whilst seeking medical care.
To make matters worse, some teachers serving in remote areas of the country are forced to dig deeper into their pockets and seek medical care from other private entities despite incurring heavy insurance costs.
If that’s not enough, those enrolled under the scheme are limited to only two health providers namely: Bliss GVS Healthcare Limited (owned by the infamous Jayesh Saini whom we will talk about him later) and Ladopharma Nursing Home Limited.
While the scheme has some sound inpatient services, one teacher who sought anonymity narrated, the outpatient services are terrible.
The services provided by Bliss and Ladopharma are second-rate with low-quality drugs and diagnosis.
“In my area, other than Bliss, we have only one Minet accredited facility. A teacher can only be treated there once per month for outpatient and the maximum amount is Sh1,500. Out of it, Sh500 is deducted as a consultation fee.
Teachers are forced to pay from their own pockets!
When we ask the hospital why they are mistreating us they give the excuse that that Minet delays payment of claims and accuses them of corruption,” another teacher painfully spoke out.
In some parts of the country, teachers confessed that medics are left in shock when they list down Minet as their insurance of choice since many (believe it or not) have never heard of it!
Another interesting part of this debacle is the fact that the controversial scheme is offered through little-known Medical Administrators (K) Limited (MAKL).
MAKL was interestingly founded in just a year before the AON Minet contract was renewed in 2019 for an additional three years.
One of the shareholders of MAKL is Jayesh Saini, a man tainted by multiple scandals in the Kenyan medical sector.
Jayesh Saini, in case you don’t know, is the owner of Clinix Healthcare Ltd (recently renamed to Bliss Healthcare) which was in 2012 mentioned in a Sh4.2 billion scandal involving the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) and implicated the then Health Minister Anyang’ Nyong’o.
At one time, Jayesh was accused of supplying fake drugs to the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency through his company Gesto Pharmaceuticals Ltd.
At MAKL, Jayesh owns his shares through Bliss Healthcare Limited.
In one specific incident reported in Kisumu, an innocent teacher was detained at Nightingale Hospital after the management demanded she clears the bill despite having been treated under the Minet’s TSC-backed scheme.
At the time, she was stuck in hospital with no hopes of being cleared since they wanted her to pay the cash in full yet she had not used the inpatient, dental, optical, nor outpatient package
She had only used maternity package and her request that she be allowed to use the inpatient package was turned down.
The insurance service also surprisingly doesn’t cover any patient in public hospitals, according to sources who spoke, from experience.
Another resident whose identity we shall not reveal tells the agonising ordeal her cousin’s family has been put through by Minet since she got admitted at the Embu Level 5 Hospital following a freak road accident.
After a successful surgery at the health facility, the girl’s parents both of whom are teachers, were hit with a Sh1.2 million bill which they expected their Minet and NHIF covers to clear.
To their shock, however, only NHIF chipped in with a mere Sh160,00 with Minet completely dodging the claim with the ridiculous excuse that since treatment was offered at a public facility, their scheme’s services were not applicable.
“We were hoping that NHIF and AON Minet would cover and clear the bill since the girl’s parent are both teachers under TSC. To our surprise, NHIF caters for only 160K… Minet on their part is not paying a penny claiming its a government hospital.
This was never communicated to the parents when they reported to the insurance back then. Now they are giving this information when the medical bill is already due,” she narrated.
From the stories featured above, it’s crystal clear that Kenyan teachers are getting a raw deal from Minet’s medical scheme.
How the body responsible for teachers welfare failed to conduct due diligence and allowed an incapacitated firm to defraud them still beats logic, word is that money changed hands leading up to the issuance of the contract.
Even more frustrating for the teachers is the defining silence from Union officials who have outrightly betrayed their counterparts who trusted them with the mandate of voicing their interests; instead, they have turned into greedy vultures and teamed up with the oppressor to further exploit them.
Will the Kenyan teachers’ cry be heard? Will relevant authorities act upon this crime of unimaginable proportions and come to Mwalimu’s rescue?
We at nairobijournal.com pledge to relentlessly give this story the coverage it so desperately deserves and shall be publishing subsequent updates.