Patients seeking treatment from various public hospitals across the country were Tuesday turned away as nurses’ strike entered its second day.
Critically ill patients were discharged from public hospitals in Taita Taveta County as more than 300 nurses joined in the nationwide strike.
A spot check by Nation at Moi County Referral Hospital in Voi revealed that the wards remained deserted as patients were collected by relatives.
Crucial health services such as free maternity were also paralysed as expectant mothers in labour were advised to seek the service in private facilities.
Services at the hospital’s maternity wing and the children’s wards were completely shut down.
Nurses on contract were however still on duty but nurses union officials were seen to persuade them to join in the strike.
The county Kenya National Union of Nurses chairperson Halima Hassan said they will not resume work until the CBA is signed by the ministry of Health and county governments.
“Our members withdrew their services and there is no turning back until the CBA is signed,” she said.
Some nurses in the Mt Kenya region have downed their tools while others continued with their work as normal.
Nurses in Embu have begun a go-slow in solidarity with their counterparts who kicked off a countrywide strike protesting against government’s failure to pay them their allowances negotiated last year.
At Embu Level Five hospital, majority of the over 600 nurses reported to work yesterday but many remained idle, loitering outside the facility for the better part of the day.
Their representative, KNUN vice chairman Joseph Ngwasi said they would formally kick off the strike today after holding talks with the salaries and remuneration commission.
He said they would not take anything short of a CBA.
“We have instructed our people not to admit patients until we have listen to SRC. The strike is on and we will start demonstrations today,” he said.
Operations at Chuka County Referral Hospital are normal but the nurse union officials insist the strike is on. But KNUN county branch chairman Fabian Marigu said they would paralyse services in the course of the day.
The nurses’ strike failed to kick off in Nyeri as operations in hospitals remained normal even as the union officials insist of being on strike. The Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) branch secretary Beatrice Nduati said they has been communication from the union headquarters instructing all nurse to down their tools.
“We are also affected in the salary row. We want the Collective Bargain Agreement (CBA) signed. Nothing but the CBA,” she said.
In Mandera, the strike is on KNUN Branch Secretary Mohamed Noor Maalim Abdi said no services were being offered in all the sixty health facilities. “All services have been paralysed. Our 301 members in Mandera are on strike,” he said.
Health services at Meru Level 5 Hospital moving on smoothly despite the Kenya National Union of Nurses saying the nurses are on strike
A spot check at the facility revealed that the patients were being attended to.
However Meru County Nesbitt Mugendi, the secretary of the Kenya Union of Nurses (Meru branch) said Meru county nurses are on strike till CBA is signed and registered.
“In some very sensitive areas we don’t just vacate at once, sometimes we sort those who are at risk how they will be comfortable,” he said.
Reported by Lucy Mkanyika, Irene Mugo, Manase Otsialo, Isabel Githae and Charles Wanyoro