COTU Secretary General Atwoli Defends Ruto’s Social Health Bill

Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU) Secretary General Francis Atwoli has assured President William Ruto that he is determined to defend the Social Health Insurance Fund, which seeks to replace the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF).

Addressing a congregation at the 5th Congress of the International Trade Union Confederation, Atwoli noted that a majority of Kenyans aged over 35 years old depended on medicines for survival.

As a result, he backed the need for a strong and working Social Health Authority for which he was appointed as a member. 

“Those who are in my age bracket and those from 35 years old now, if you close that door there and ask your police officers to carry out inspections in our pockets and our handbags, you will be required to have cartons to fill the medicines and capsules that these people walk with. We live on tablets and medicines. We need to have a working health insurance authority,” he assured.

President William Ruto (right) hosts COTU boss Francis Atwoli at State House, Nairobi on December 1, 2022.


“I will be there and if anything goes wrong, I will raise an alarm because that is the area of our concerns.”

The COTU boss, however, observed that a majority of the youth below the age of 35 years depended on the blue pill, a drug commonly associated with enhancing sexual performance.

Atwoli argued that whereas the youngsters depend on the tablet for performance, they deserve a strong health insurance authority once the side effects kick in.

“Even those who are below 35, for your information, they also require blue tablets and they need a sound health medical insurance authority after they get problems with blue tablets,” he stated.

Ruto appointed Atwoli to the Authority on Thursday last week, a position he will hold for a period of three years.

The members were subsequently tasked with registering beneficiaries and advising the Cabinet Secretary on social health insurance matters among others.

The rollout of the fund, which proposed a 2.75 per cent deduction of the gross salary for employed individuals, suffered a setback on Monday when the High Court suspended its rollout.

Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists & Dentists Union (KMPDU) had moved to court and applied to have the Acts suspended citing negative effects on the larger health sector.

File photo of Milimani Law Courts in Nairobi.


Judiciary of Kenya

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