Patients in public hospitals in Taita-Taveta county should brace themselves for hard times following the decision by nurses in the county to begin a countywide strike starting midnight today.
The decision was reached today at the Moi County Referral Hospital in Voi when the nurses union representatives accused the county government of failing to honour an agreement which was reached in mid-September this year where the nurses had raised several key grievances centering around terms of promotion and the general working conditions.
“We are advising residents in Taita- Taveta county and patients visiting public hospitals starting midnight today to brace themselves for any eventuality as our members in the whole county will down their tools after the county government reneged on an earlier agreement which had been reached on addressing our terms of service,” said Boniface Mrashui, the Taita-Taveta county secretary of the Kenya National Union of nurses(KNUN).
Mrashui lamented that nurses in the county had begun losing faith in the union as most of the grievances they had raised were not being addressed leading to suspicions that the union officials had been compromised.
“I want to tell our members categorically that none of our officials has been compromised by the county government. We have only been buying time hoping that the county government will heed our cries but it has turned out that everything has hit a dead end,” said Mrashui.
The official pointed out that all the 300 nurses in the county would be required to stay away from their work places until they receive any correspondence to the contrary.
Among the issues the nurses want addressed include the actualization of pending promotions of nursing staff and thepayment of escort allowances during the transfer of patients from one health facility to another .
Addressing the nurses during the meeting, the KNUN Taita-Taveta branch vice chairperson Halima Hassan lamented over the poor state of working facilities at Moi hospital in Voi, despite being upgraded to a “referral” status.
“Moi hospital does not have an ICU while the maternity ward, operating theatre and x-ray unit have not been upgraded to the level of a referral hospital,” said Halima adding that even the ambulance in the institution was not of the required standard.
As the nurses were issuing the strike notice, officials from the county government at the behest of public health CEC Gifton Mkaya were holed up in a closed door meeting at Moi hospital.
captions:1. Mr Boniface Mrashui addressing nurses union offcials at Moi referral hospital today
2:The Moi referral hospital