Health crisis in Busia as nurses’ strike enters day two

A health worker treating a patient. Photo/FILE

The strike by medical services officers in Busia County entered day two Thursday, October 13 after they downed tools on Wednesday paralyzing services in all public health facilities.

According to the Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) chair, Isaiah Omondi, the strike followed the county government’s failure to fulfill the return to work agreement which was signed in May this year and was to be fully effected by end of June 2016.

In the agreement, the county government promised to promote medics who have been in service for between 10 and 15 years. The health practitioners are demanding the promotion of 143 members.

The nurses cited poor working conditions, ill-equipped facilities and understaffing as key issues they had raised in earlier meetings. They further complained that Busia County Referral Hospital maternity wing was operating without delivery beds, with patients using examinations couches.

However, the Busia County Executive Committee (CEC) for Health, Dr Maurice Siminyu, said the county had satisfied most demands by the union – including acquiring personal numbers for former ESP staff and promotion of health workers.

“Currently, there are no arrears for any health workers in relation to promotion or delayed  salaries as alleged by the union officials. The list of officers due for promotion was forwarded to the relevant body with the report expected this month,” he said.

KNUN Secretary General, Seth Panyako, claimed that the strike was legal since they had issued a 14-day-strike notice, which was not addressed to by Busia Governor, Sospeter Ojamong.

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Story By Eddy Ashioya
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