Church slams ‘unethical’ missionary fee hike

The Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) has expressed its dissatisfaction with the government’s decision to raise permit charges for missionaries, labeling it as unethical and depreciating to the value of their service to society.

 The bishops criticized the increase in fees from Kes 15,000 to Kes150,000, urging the government to reconsider and revoke the levy.

They noted that it is important to show gratitude and appreciation, particularly by granting waivers to priests, religious individuals, and other social missionary volunteers, who contribute to the nation’s social engagement.

KCCB have also called out the government for its failure to settle a Ksh2 billion debt owed to church-run health facilities, which has severely hindered the operations of these hospitals. “The effect is that most of our hospitals are crippled and unable to operate optimally,” the bishops explained.

They demanded immediate action to address this issue and called for an end to the ongoing doctors’ strike, urging medical officers to prioritize patient care over their grievances even as some of the doctors have gone back to work despite the ongoing nationwide strike.

Expressing concerns about the government’s changing dynamics in its relationship with the Catholic Church, the KCCB stressed the need to uphold the role of faith-based organizations in societal development.

They pressed for transparency and legal guarantees regarding the settlement of outstanding debts, especially in light of the impending transition to the Social Health Insurance Fund (SHIF).

Read also: Black tax hit Kenyans as State switches up service fees

Catholic sponsored hospitals

The Catholic Church plays a significant role in healthcare provision across Kenya, operating a vast network of health facilities. This network includes 451 centres, including 69 hospitals, 117 health centres, 14 medical training colleges, and 251 dispensaries.

However, unpaid NHIF claims have led to disruptions in services, with hundreds of hospitals halting services to NHIF cardholders due to outstanding debts. This situation has raised doubts about the government’s readiness for the transition to the SHIF, despite assurances from Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha.

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