July 27th 2017

Top Stories / National

Strikes by civil servants a test to Jubilee government as the election approaches

On the other hand, the patients have continued to suffer in hospitals and dispensaries for lack of nurses to attend to them. It is yet another time that the lives of Kenyans are put into risk with the first strike by the medical practitioners that left many dead and many more suffering at their home

By Winfred Mbuya Mwanikiwmwaniki@kenyafreepress.comWednesday, 05 Jul 2017 18:58 EAT

Nurses on strike march holding banners as they take part in a protest in Nairobi las month.

The nurses’ strike is now one month old since it began last month after the nurses decided to down their tools to get a listening ear from the government. The nurses had earlier signed a Collective Bargaining  Agreement(CBA) with the government and were to have their problems on the side of salary addressed.

The strike by Public University Lecturers’ and staff strikes  is on its third day today. The two teams, the varsity staff and the nurses went on strike for the same reasons, failure by the government to implement their respective CBAs.

While the lecturers have kept away from classes and urged the government to implement the CBA fully,  students  have been forced to break off. The lecturers fighting for full implementation of the CBA that was to ensure that they get a salary increase of 17.5 per cent amongst a host of other demands.

On the other hand, the patients have continued to suffer in hospitals and dispensaries for lack of nurses to attend to them. It is yet another time that the lives of Kenyans are put at risk; like the previous  strike by the medical practitioners that left many dead and many more suffering at their homes.

The number of those who are dying even from small illnesses including children is rising. The cases of bodies received at the mortuaries is on the increase. The effects of the strike started to be felt in its early stages with long queues in hospitals and some patients being sent away.

The nurses said they want the CBA agreement that awarded each nurse a Sh12,000 allowance beginning January this year, an amount that was expected to rise to Sh20,000 in July effected. This was to be done by March this year, a deadline which is long overdue and they have not seen the fruits of their agreement.

Also, the number is overwhelming in some of the hospitals such as Kenyatta National Hospital as people seek  medical attention that they have lacked elsewhere especially the maternity services. The life of both mother and child is at risk as the numbers are way above the capacity. Yet it is a menace experienced nation-wide as a result of unpaid deal.

Patients are forced to seek for medical care from the private institutions which to most of them are not affordable and some just watch their patients suffering. In the villages some have turned to chemists as the immediate solution to their problems even without diagnosis from doctors.

As a result of the strike, the salaries of the nurses have been withheld in some of the counties, a measure that has happened before in the country where the teaching staff had their salaries withheld and threatened to be sacked if they did not go back to class.

However the nurses are not likely to relent or to go back before their demands are  fully met to as demonstrated by the union’s Secretary General Seth Panyako, who said, to a local radio station:  “The strike will continue for as long as our concerns are not met,” said Panyako.

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