Nurses strike must be averted at all costs

EDITORIAL |

A crisis is looming in the health sector if nurses make good their threat to go on strike tomorrow.

The National Nurses Association of Kenya (NNAK) has insisted its members will go on strike if their demands to the Government are not met.

The nurses want the Government to register the Kenya National Union of Nurses, hire nurses on contract, replacement of those who left through natural attrition, retirement and resignation and employment of all qualifying nurses.

On Friday Medical Services minister Anyang Nyong’o appealed to the nurses to call off the strike, saying it was ill advised and in contravention of the Labour Relations.

Prof Nyong’o has told the nurses his ministry was unable to fulfil the demand to register the union.

He said this was the responsibility of the Ministry of Labour.

Equally, nurses at Kenyatta National Hospital, the country’s biggest referral hospital, have said they will not join in the strike saying not all avenues for negotiation had been exhausted.

They also said they had not been consulted before the notice for the strike was given.

But NNAK, through its chairman Jeremiah Maina, has insisted the nurses will down tools until their demands are met.

This year, Kenyans have been subjected to industrial strikes that have hit many sectors and disrupted delivery of services.

The health sector was not spared either. A strike by doctors ended up hurting the people with deaths reported in some health institutions.

This should not happen again, and the sector needs stability to deliver healthcare.

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