17 February 2016

Kenya: Health Crisis in Embu As Health Workers' Strike Enters Second Week

The ongoing go-slow by Embu doctors and nurses entered the second week on Wednesday, as a section of local leaders called on the county government to recall retired medics.

Runyenjes Central MCA Steve Simba claimed that some people had died during the strike that has paralysed operations in the county.

On Monday, a 16-year old boy died of a gunshot wound as he waited for medics at the Embu Level Five hospital lobby.

Over 2,000 health workers in the county went on a go slow, to protest failure by the government to promote them.

Embu county Kenya Nurses Union of Nurses branch Secretary General Joseph Ngwasi said the medics were unhappy after county government failed to promote 400 medics despite promising it in September.

He said the county was yet to confirm the promotion of 67 other medics who had been promoted before the health sector was devolved.

Those seeking outpatient services at Embu Level Five hospital have been turned away and majority of patients are now being taken to private hospitals such as Tenri and Kyeni Mission hospitals.

In a press briefing on Wednesday, the leaders, Mr Simba, Mr Ibrahim Swaleh (Kirimari) and Ms Agatha Mbogo, called for an immediate solution to end the strike.

Mr Simba regretted the unnecessary deaths that could have been saved if experienced medics were on standby to plug the gap created by the striking medical staff.

County Assembly Health Committee chairperson Agatha Muthoni said that all Level Four hospitals had shut down for over a week.

Mr Swaleh called for a meeting between the medics, County Assembly Health Committee and Governor Martin Wambora to find a solution to the debacle.

Mr Swaleh observed that transferring patients from the Level Five hospital was being hampered by lack of doctors to sign transfer documents.

He warned that the county may lose more lives if urgent measures to address the strike are not taken.

Mavuria MCA Joseph Mwaniki narrated to the Assembly how he got stranded at the hospital gates after volunteering to rush an ailing mother to hospital because there was no member of staff on duty.

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