8 January 2016

Kenya: Patients in Agony After Health Workers Strike

Hundreds of patients in Laikipia County were stranded on Thursday after health workers downed their tools over pay and promotions, compelling them to turn to private hospitals.

The strike paralysed health services mainly at Nyahururu and Nanyuki County hospitals, Kinamba and Rumuruti sub-county hospitals.

Nurses and doctors in the public health facilities are protesting against failure by the county government to honour an earlier agreement to effect their promotions and settle dues and leave allowances.

The health workers had issued a three-month strike notice to the county government to effect the agreement, failure to which bear the consequences of a strike.

The notice was not a first by the medical workers, as a previous threat led to the county promising to implement all their demands.

In Nyahururu, the health officers spent the better part of Thursday in a meeting, which ended with a resolution to hold demonstrations.

Their spokesperson, who is also the Kenya National Union of Nurses-Laikipia branch chairperson, Purity Matu, said efforts to get an explanation from the county government on why the earlier pledges had not been honoured proved unfruitful.

She said the promotions, in particular, must be addressed urgently.

Ms Matu said the workers were not happy with Governor Joshua Irungu who has failed to implement pledges made following the meeting between them three months ago.

"He promised to address the issue but nothing has been done. We hoped that he would authorize the relevant authorities to address this but we have not seen any fruits. That is why we have decided to down our tools until our demands are met," the official said.

Contacted by Nation, County Executive for Health Njoroge Wangui said the strike had affected health services, but noted that they were in consultation with the union.

Dr Wangui added that the County Public Service Board was working on the promotion demands and asked for patience from the workers.


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