Waiguru threatens to sack all striking health workers as strike enters day 9


Waiguru threatens to sack all striking health workers as strike enters day 9
Heallth workers from Kerugoya Hospital protest along Kerugoya streets.

Kirinyaga Governor Ann Waiguru has issued a one day ultimatum to the over 1000 striking health workers or face the sack.

Speaking on Wednesday at Thimu Coffee Factory in Gichugu Gonstituency, Waiguru insisted that those who will not have reported to work on Thursday will be sacked.

“We cannot accept Kirinyaga people to continue suffering because of people who want to push their political agendas,” said Waiguru.

“Starting Thursday, we will start replacing them and employ others who want to serve Kirinyaga residents.”

Waiguru further claimed that the health workers are behind the the unhygienic conditions at the hospitals and are using this situation to justify their strike.

Health workers at a Kerugoya hospital downed their tools on May 29, 2019 demanding among other issues the reinstatement of over 300 casual workers who were sent home from the county referral hospital.

On May 17, 2019, the Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU)  directed all health workers under the Ministry of Health to go home.

Speaking after inspecting Kerugoya Referral Hospital, KMPDU Secretary General Ouma Oluga said that the facility is still in a deplorable state adding that the County had failed to honour its promise.

Oluga who was accompanied by several union official from the National government and Central regions on Friday directed all health workers to go home until further notice.

“Do not allow yourself to be found in professional misconduct, go home until the conditions are safe until you are told that now where you work is safe for you,” he said.

In their recommendations, the union had indicated that no patients should not be admitted until the hospital is thoroughly cleaned and cleanliness maintained, something they noted was yet to be done.

On his part, the Chairman Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) Joseph Ngwasi promised to protect all health workers and ensure that their working conditions were improved.

“We will not allow this to continue. Whatever you see here is a tip of the iceberg, we will support our workers because we want them to have good working environments,” he said.

The workers’ unions has warned patients to brace for a longer strike and are adamant that Governor Anne Waiguru’s administration has failed to meet their demands.

Kirinyaga woes began after 346 casual labourers were sacked last month with reports later emerging that the move catalysed the dilapidated state of several health facilities in the county.

Governor Waiguru however blamed it on politicians who according to her are attempting to sabotage health operations in the county.

“There was sabotage and we are investigating further to know which politician is behind this fiasco. We shall wait for investigations to be completed but in the meantime the situation is much better now at Kerugoya Hospital,” said Waiguru.

In the joint report dated May 13, 2019, the theatre roof is reported to have been leaking for close to one year and the staff admitted to have been covering machines with polythene bags to prevent damage.

The facility was found not to have an Accident and Emergency Department and only one functioning patient monitor in the theatre recovery room.

The report further indicated that there were constant blockages of the sewer system especially in the maternity unit.

This even as it emerged that the county chose to retain 12 casual labourers as security guards who also doubled up as patient attendants.

The joint investigating team also established poor waste management at the facility with majority toilet flush systems out of order.

Blood stained walls and floors were predominantly seen in the wards.

Leaking roofs, dirty sinks, faulty beds and equipment, worn out dirty linen used by the patients evidenced by houseflies all over the wards and the hospital compound were recorded in the report.

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Story By Johnson Muriithi
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