The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Nyeri Nurses Who Destroyed Equipment Charged

EIGHT striking nurses were yesterday taken to a Nyeri court and charged with malicious damage to property.

The nurses appeared before Nyeri senior principal magistrate Shadrack Okato.

They were accused of invading Gatitu Dispensary where they damaged thermometers, hospital registers, blood pressure machine and window panes all valued at Sh3,400 on Monday.

The nurses faced a second count that said on the same day, they attacked Aguthi Dispensary and damaged three thermos flasks valued at Sh3,600.

The nurses, who work at Nyeri Provincial General Hospital, pleaded not guilty and were released on a Sh30,000 bond and surety of the same amount or a cash bail of Sh15,000.

They eight nurses are Simon Warui Njogu, Wilson Waciuri Githinji, Jane Wangari, Alice Wangui, Lucy Wairimu, Phoebe Maina, Joyce Mutuota and Agnes Wangu Thigiti.

Their action comes after more than 80 nurses stormed health centres in Nyeri to flush out their colleagues who were not in solidarity with the striking nurses.

The nurses have been on strike in the last three months demanding that the government registers their body, the Kenya National Union of Nurses and employ 6,000 colleagues who are on contract.

Speaking to the press later, Central Province director of medical services, Gichuiya M'Riara condemned the nurses's action urging restraint from the other nurses. He asked them to follow "the correct channels of negotiations" and avoid destruction of medical equipment.

"I am calling on the nurses to be reasonable and sensitive to the suffering patients, who have been neglected because of your absence from work," said Gichuiya. The director said the nurse have a right to agitate for their rights.

Gichuiya reminded the nurses that a court ruling had been made that they return to work as negotiations go on. He asked the nurses to observe the rule of law.

On January 8, the Industrial Court ordered the striking nurses back to work. The Ministry of Medical Services then threatened the nurses with the sack if they did not obey the court's order.

The case will be mentioned on February 19 and the hearing will be March 11.

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