Unionisable staffs of the Kenya Medical Research Institute are appealing to cabinet secretary for Health Mutahi Kagwe to consider paying them risk allowances. The allowances prayed include extraneous, emergency call and health risk allowances. In a letter seen by Weekly Citizen the staff through the Union of National Research Institutes Staff of Kenya say the working conditions in their stations expose all workers to high health risks in terms of handling and storage of pathogens countrywide.
KEMRI is gazetted under Cap 204 as a protected area for Biosafety and Bio-security reasons.UNRISK secretary general Zachariah Achacha in the letter, says Kemri staff interact with patients mostly in extraneous field conditions and undertake follow up of some laboratory procedures that require long hours in laboratory including weekends. He avers hospitals send to Kemri highly infectious clinical samples such as anthrax, Ebola, Chikungunya, Yellow Fever, Polio, Bird Flu, HIV, MDR, XDR, TB and bacteria/fungi, Typhoid, cholera and now Covid-19. The scientific team of Kemri is designated thus; assistant research officer, research officers, senior research officers, principal research officers and chief research officers. The union demands for all scientists to be given emergency call and extraneous allowances at the equivalent rate with doctors at national hospitals