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Katiba Institute Article

MEDIA ADVISORY: PETITION CHALLENGING FORCEFUL DETENTION FOR FAILURE TO MEET COSTS OF ISOLATION AND TREATMENT OF COVID-19 IN PUBLIC HEALTH FACILITIES

What: A Petition (High Court Petition E295 of 2020) challenging the forceful detention of patients for failure to pay for costs of testing and medical treatment of COVID 19 while in isolation in Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral and Research Hospital (KUTRRH) and the failure of the state to cater for costs for testing and medical treatment of COVID 19 patients in public health facilities.

The Petition was filed on 24 September 2020 at the Constitutional and Human Rights Division of the High Court in Nairobi. It challenges the state’s attempt to compel people admitted to public health facilities for COVID-19 to pay the costs of their isolation and treatment. It also challenges KUTRRH forceful and unlawful detention of two patients who were unable to pay these costs. The state’s unlawful conduct occurred even though the state received funds from various donors as well as from the private sector that were meant to facilitate medical treatment and isolation of people who had contracted COVID-19.

Who: The case has been filed by four Petitioners:

  •  JMK and AJ, two people who were victims of the State’s illegal detention (both of
  • whom are represented by the Kenya Legal and Ethical Issues Network on HIV/AIDS (KELIN),
  • KELIN and
  • Katiba Institute.

The Petitioners have filed the case against KUTRRH, the Cabinet Secretary for Health, the Attorney-General, and the Acting Director-General for the Ministry of Health.

Why: This Petition seeks to hold the State and KUTRRH liable for having violated the rights to health, dignity and access to information as well as freedom from non-discrimination, freedom of security of the person and the right to dignity guaranteed under the Constitution of Kenya, 2010, the Access to Information Act, 2016 and the Health Act, 2017, Laws of Kenya when:

  1. KUTRRH forcefully and unlawfully detained the 1st and 2nd Petitioners, JMK and AJ, in its isolation facility because they could not afford to pay for testing and treatment of COVID -19.
  2. The Cabinet Secretary for Health and Acting Director-General for the Ministry of Health required people to pay medical bills related to COVID-19 testing and treatment that they incurred while in isolation at public health facilities. Forcing people to pay is unreasonable and unjustified, especially considering that large sums of money have been donated to Kenya to address such situations.

Where: High Court of Kenya, Constitutional and Human Rights Division, Milimani Law Courts.

PLEASE NOTE: The 1st and 2nd Petitioners have requested that their full names and identities not be disclosed to protect their privacy, the confidentiality of their health status, and personal circumstances. As a result, they will not be available to give interviews.

To contribute to the discussions on this forum, follow KELIN and Katiba Institute on our social media platforms using the hashtags: #Justice2Health and #IsolationNotDetention.

Download Petition E295 of 2020 here: https://bit.ly/3cIUXih

Katherine Karambu (Communications Officer) KELIN

Cell: +254724617198

Email: kkarambu@kelinkenya.org

Website: www.kelinkenya.org

Twitter: @KELINKenya

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kelinkenya

Kevin Mabonga (Communications & Public Liaison Officer) Katiba Institute

Cell: +254704594962

Email: kmabonga@katibainstitue.org

Website: www.katibainstitute.org

Twitter:  @Katibainstitute

Facebook: Katiba Institute-KI Official