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Nairobi hires health workers amid nationwide strikes

The Nairobi County government on Wednesday employed 226 health workers who emerged top in interviews conducted by the County Public Service Board.

The workers who include nurses, laboratory technicians and technologists, nutrition and dietetic technologists and pharmaceutical technologists were given their appointment letters at a county event held at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre.

Governor Evans Kidero who attended the event said enough funds have been allocated by the county government to ensure the health sector improves.

“As a County Government we take health matters seriously that is why we have set aside Sh 8billion (27%) of our annual budget of Sh 31billion and allocated to the health sector. We will continue to ensure Nairobi residents have a wide choice in as far as our health facilities are concerned,” said Dr Kidero.

The newly employed 226 workers emerged top out of over 5,000 applicants who applied for the different positions that were advertised by the county government.

Recently, the county employed 211 other health workers under the Economic Stimulus Program (ESP) bringing the total number of new workers to 437.

County Public Service Board Chairman Philip Kung’u said enough funds have been allocated to the recurrent expenditure for the newly employed health workers’ salaries.

The Governor also inaugurated a team of 37 practitioners, physicians and doctors to serve at the Nairobi City County Medical Board for Pumwani, Mutuini, Mama Lucy and Mbagathi hospitals.

PARALYZED SERVICES

This even as health workers in eight counties went on strike paralysing medical services in dozens of referral and other hospitals across the country.

In Nairobi, the Kenya National Union of Nurses Nairobi Branch acting secretary Eunice Ngari last week urged city residents to transfer their sick relatives to private hospitals as the strike would paralyse services in public hospitals.

“The county government has demonstrated unwillingness to meet the union and has left us with no option but to strike,” Ms Ngari said on Thursday.

On Wednesday this week, the Council of Governors health committee chairman Jack Ranguma told MPs that workers had no reason to strike consequently downplaying the ongoing workers’ strike.

However, Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union Secretary-General Ouma Oluga said the workers had not gone back to hospitals and cited Nandi County among those still on strike.

The workers have been demanding better remuneration and terms of service along with the creation of an independent commission to look into the workers’ welfare.