Governor Kinuthia Mbugua declares state of emergency in health sector in Nakuru

Nakuru Governor Kinuthia Mbugua. He has declared a state of emergency in the county's health sector. (PHOTO: COURTESY)
Nakuru Governor Kinuthia Mbugua has declared a state of emergency in the county's health sector.

The declaration follows a nurses strike that began last week and an impending doctor's strike today.

Mr Mbugua said the health situation was dire since nurses went on strike on Wednesday and will be worse today when doctors are expected to join in.

Mbugua said the county has put in place emergency measures by advertising vacant positions of striking nurses.

He said the decision was arrived at after striking nurses under the Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) refused to enter into dialogue with the executive.

"I cannot allow people to die in hospitals because of a striking force whose demands can easily be solved through dialogue," said Mbugua.

He said the county will employ new nurses, recall retired ones and seek volunteers from various organisations to step in as a stop-gap measure.

"I am calling on volunteers and retired nurses to come on board and help attend to patients in hospitals," said Mbugua.

Nurses went on strike last Wednesday demanding promotion of 774 healthcare employees.

The strike has paralysed medical services in all public hospitals leading to closure of all sub-county hospitals.

Speaking during an Akorino church prayer meeting at Afraha Stadium, Mbugua said he had formed a team to negotiate with the striking nurses but will engage new health workers on contract beginning on Saturday to replace the ones on strike.

KNUN Nakuru branch chairlady Cyprian Odera accused Mbugua's team of indifference, saying the union has been pushing for dialogue for a long time.

"The union officials have tried to meet the executive but it has been impossible. This is the reason we are on strike and if there is any communication, the issue should be handled by our health office," said Odera.

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Governor Kinuthia MbuguaNakuru Countyhealth workers' strike