Society / Health & Science
Thursday, 15 Dec 2016 14:36 EATamboleokata@gmail.com
A day after the Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) called off its nationwide strike, 1,200 nurses in Nakuru County have vowed not to return to work until concerns they had raised with the county government of Nakuru are resolved. Addressing journalists outside Nakuru Level Five Hospital where they met today, the nurses led by the KNUN branch secretary Cyprian Odera said that they started their strike on 1st December ahead of the national strike because the county government had ignored their earlier return to work formula signed in July.
Ms Odera said that the local branch had engaged their national officials with a view to having deliberations with the county government later today, but that nurses would not resume work until they are fully heard. She further dismissed claims that KNUN officials are unavailable saying they have been pushing for dialogue with the Nakuru county health executive, who on several occasions has turned them down.
Other issue raised by the branch is lack of enough human resource to serve high numbers of patients seeking health services in public hospitals. The chair said union officials held a meeting with county that was chaired by director of administration and planning Dr Benedict Osore who said 212 employees had been promoted. However, the said officers have not received promotion letters and that the move was meant to victimize the striking force.
She said the issues should now be addressed by the KNNU headquarters in Nairobi. “The union officials have tried to meet the executive but it has not been possible. This is the reason why we are on strike and if there is any communication, the issue should be handled by our health office.” She said the county agreed to employ 774 healthcare workers, and none of them has been employed.
A spot check at the Nakuru PGH revealed long queues and patients complained of not receiving any services from contracted nurses. Journalists were barred from accessing the main wards but at the casualty department, many patients lay waiting. Contracted nurses who have been attending to patients amidst a heavy workload fled after they noticed the presence of journalists in the hospital.
County CEC for health Dr Mungai Kabii and his chief officer Dr Samuel Mwaura could not be reached for comment as they did neither answer calls nor reply short text messages.
The writer is contributing reporter for the Kenya Free Press based in Nakuru County