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Doctor’s son dies as nurses boycott bites

At least 10 people have died as the nurses’ strike over a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) entered the third day on Wednesday, paralysing services at public hospitals.

An eight-month-old son of a medical doctor at Kakamega General Hospital was the latest victim on Wednesday. Dr Winston Ong’alo told the Nation that his son was diagnosed with severe malaria and anaemia but his colleagues could not access equipment.

“Doctors could not gain access to needles and syringes,” said Dr Ong’alo. “Even more heartbreaking was that oxygen tanks were available but out of reach as the nurses had put them under lock and key.”

On Tuesday, an elderly asthmatic woman, unattended since Monday, died at Baringo County Referral Hospital.

This came as county governments said they could not afford increments to health workers’ pay packages.

FINANCIAL IMPLICATION

Council of Governors chairman Josephat Nanok on Wednesday said the financial implication of the draft CBA was Sh40.3 billion over four years.

“This amount is around Sh10 billion per year, which is unsustainable bearing in mind that there are other health workers and other sectors delivering services at the county,” said Mr Nanok, the Turkana Governor. “It is important to note that county governments have made increments of Sh3.4 billion.”

He said CoG had proposed an allocation of Sh323 billion for counties but the Senate offered Sh314 billion and the National Assembly Sh291 billion.

Nurses in Nairobi marched to the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) offices, where they camped for hours demanding to be given audience by chairperson, Sarah Serem.