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Nairobi Nurses issue strike notice

A major health crisis is looming in Nairobi after health workers vowed to go on strike following the county government’s failure to address their grievances.

Addressing a joint news conference in Nairobi on Thursday, Kenya National Union of Nurses Nairobi Branch acting secretary Eunice Ngari, said they would proceed with the strike issued by their national General Secretary Seth Panyako.

She urged Nairobi residents to transfer their sick relatives to private hospitals as the strike would paralyse all the services in public hospitals.

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

“I am asking the public to prepare to transfer all the patients to private hospitals by August 30 because on September 1, we are all downing our tools,” she said.

Council of Deputy Governors’ chairman Joash Maangi on Wednesday validated the unions claims of delay of payment of salaries by stating that National Treasury had failed to remit the funds to the counties on time leaving the counties struggling and shouldering the burden of disgruntled employees.

SERVICES PARALYZED

The country has been hit by a wave of health workers strikes, and reports indicate that approximately 11 people have died as a result.

This is since the latest strike by health workers in Nyeri, Makueni and Nakuru counties that have had health services paralysed.

In Nyeri County, private hospitals are over stretched as hundreds of patients have been admitted to these hospitals following the closure of public hospitals.

Nurses in Nairobi are also seeking promotion and redesignation of officers who have qualified and are overdue.

However, the problem is not unique to Nairobi as Kenya Medical Practioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union has said that with the exception of Machakos, Wajir and Kisii counties, all the other areas have not promoted a single nurse in the two years devolution has been in effect.

The nurses also want medical allowance reinstated on their payslips to mitigate deductions by National Hospital Insurance Funds, and to resolve Pumwani Maternity Hospital dispute as it is placing unnecessary workload on the few nurses in the facility and overcrowding nearby facilities.