Inside the life of a nurse: Why are they on strike?

Inside the life of a nurse: Why are they on strike?

Why are the nurses putting up such a fight despite intense criticism from Kenyans online about the devastating effects of their strike?

Citizen Digital tracked down a practicing nurse, Emma Odhiambo, to get their side of the story, away from the protests and the boardroom haggling.

“Why is my employer finding it hard to give us what is duly mine we are not asking for so much what we are asking for is not even proportionate to what we offer,” queried

Emma joined the practice in 2004, with hopes of bettering the lives of her family.

Three years later, a deployment letter to Kuoyo dispensary in Manyatta fanned the flame, oblivious of the shock that awaited her at the facility.

“ I do not know how two nurses are expected to manage a level 2 facility that is supposed to conduct deliveries, we are supposed to work from 8am to 5pm then we are still stand by throughout the night,” decried Emma.

According to her, the monetary compensation was paltry, the housing allowance throwing her off balance.

“ Who in Kisumu pays their rent at a rate of Ksh.3,500, I wonder which house has a rate of Ksh.7,500 which is the rate of most of the nurses in job group J and below,” said Emma.

But her job she says, despite being passion driven, can only do so much.

“That human nurse also has children and parents to take care of and sometimes maybe back in class to further her studies. So ho how is she supposed to manage with some little salary, we have debts everywhere.”

“Some of those patients are our parents, they understand the pain when sometimes they have to chip in to keep us going. We do not even have the means to sustain ourselves”

She says gross understaffing has ballooned the crisis even further, and the universal health coverage program, only adding insult to injury, raising the number of patients they serve per month to about 2000.

The bulk of the work is in level 2 level 3 such that the higher facilities only receive referrals from us so we basically filter everything from the ground.

Her Final Word to Her Employer

“Remember our CBA is still pending, what we are talking about is a return to work formula that was not honoured,”

“We are not registering any dispute to anybody all we are saying is give us what you promised then we go back as we wait for you to make things better,”

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Story By Laura Otieno
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