12 September 2017

Kenya: Nurses' Strike Forces Patients to Seek Treatment in Tanzania

Photo: Ondari Ogega/The Nation
Striking nurses take to the streets during demonstrations in Kisumu on July 19, 2017.

People in need of medical services in Taita Taveta and Kwale counties are now trooping to Tanzania seeking for treatment after medical services in most public hospitals at the Coast remain grounded.

The hospitals are not operating due to the ongoing nationwide nurse's strike which has left most health services paralysed.

Dominic Ashili, 72, who is suffering from gangrene diabetic foot was forced to travel to Tanzania where his leg was amputated after the disease took toll on him.

"The amputation was done in Moshi Hospital. He used to go to Mwatate Sub-County Hospital but when nurses boycotted duties his health deteriorated.

"We decided to rush him to Tanzania for treatment. He could have died hadn't we rushed him to Moshi where he is recuperating," said his son, Peter Mwamburi.

Mr Mwamburi, a health worker, said many Kenyans are receiving treatment in Tanzania due to the health crisis.

COAST GENERAL HOSPITAL

Health workers at the Coast Provincial General Hospital, the largest referral health hospital in the region, have to attend to an overwhelming number of patients from different counties.

Meanwhile, striking nurses in Mombasa have condemned some of their colleagues who have resumed duties as they demand for their collective bargaining agreement to be implemented.

The Kenya National Union of Nurses Mombasa branch secretary Peter Maroko said the nurses have not received their July and August salaries.

"Don't go back to work, stay put and fight for your rights. We must pressurise those who are working to join us. We will resume if we get a return to work formula," said Mr Maroko.

Mentally ill patient are also suffering after nurses at Port Reitz Mental Hospital boycotted duties.

This comes a few days after Mombasa Catholic Archbishop Martin Kivuva urged striking nurses to resume duties and help hundreds of patients who are suffering due to lack of healthcare services.

Archbishop Kivuva said the ongoing nationwide strike that has paralysed health services in most public hospitals has caused suffering to many families in the country.

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