Public hospitals in crisis as doctors and nurses take to the streets

 

yvwfwv7juvynijyzqt594acf63e54f0 Public hospitals in crisis as doctors and nurses take to the streets
Health workers demonstrate outside City Hall yesterday. They were protesting against unfair treatment and delayed salaries from Nairobi County. [Pius Cheruiyot, Standard]

Operations in many public hospitals in Nairobi County were paralysed for the second day after doctors joined the nurses’ strike.

The medics cited salary delay, mistreatment and lack of promotions -which was one of the provisions in a return-to-work agreement the two parties signed in March.

The nurses’ strike entered its 18th day yesterday.

As early as 9am, the nurses had camped outside City Hall, chanting anti-administration slogans and holding placards.

“Ubaguzi (discrimination)?”, “Ayisi must go” and “we also work in public health facilities” were some of the writings on the placards.

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The nurses numbering about 100 sought audience with Nairobi County Secretary Robert Ayisi and Governor Evans Kidero.

Delayed pay

“We want to know why Ayisi is letting down his colleagues. It is not fair for the county or national government to give promises they cannot keep,” said one of the nurses who sought anonymity.

Since the nurses’ strike began, more than 10 people have died across the country as patients are turned away from public health facilities.

The doctors pitched tent outside the City Hall VIP entrance, blowing whistles and chanting slogans as they sought audience with the county administration.

The doctors said they had not been paid for the 100 days they were on strike, with others claiming that they had not received pay since December last year.

Kenya Medical Practitioners and Doctors Union (KMPDU), Nairobi branch secretary general, Thuranira Kuagiria said the doctors would not go back to work until they were paid.

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Striking nurses demonstrate in Nairobi streets

No promotions

“The strike is back and we will camp at City Hall until they pay us,” said Thuranira.

He said that eight months after the union signed a deal with the county government, no promotions had been made.

“In fact nothing in the agreement has been actualised since the signing of the agreement,” he avered.

Nairobi Health Executive Bernard Muia confirmed that some of the doctors had not been paid, citing a cash problem. He, however, said that he was ready and willing to hold negotiations with the union for a way forward.

“We paid some of the doctors, but there is a salary payment problem, which affects other workers, not just the medics. I would like to appeal to them to sit down with us so that we can end the stalemate,” he said.

Ayisi said the county had received money from the national government, but it was meant to pay allowances and not salaries for the days they did not work.

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