The ongoing nurses’ strike in Narok County took an interesting twist when the government ordered the health workers who have downed their tools to vacate government houses.
Governor Samuel Tunai vowed that his administration was not about to bow down to what he terms as "blackmail" by the striking nurses.
Addressing journalists at the Narok County Referral Hospital where he received a consignment of drugs worth Sh38 million from Mission for Essential Drugs and Supplies (MEDS), Mr. Tunai directed Health CEC Vivian Mpeti to replace all the striking nurses.
“As governors our core duty is to deliver development and as it stands, the counties spend 87 percent of the budget on recurrent expenditure (salaries). As elected governors we have agreed that we shall not add the nurses even a shilling,” said Governor Tunai.
The Governor accused nurses of blackmail saying the already earn hefty salaries as compared to other professionals in civil service.
“Imagine a nurse with just a certificate earning between Sh80,000 to Sh90,000 a month while an Engineer with Degree earns a starting salary of 34,000.We are tired of these illegal strikes and here in Narok I want all those on strike to vacate government houses to pave way for the new staff,” ordered Tunai.
Tunai who is also the Chair of the Tourism Committee at the Council of Governors’ said the council will never contravene the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) as far as nurses’ salaries are concerned.
Tunai has also warned health workers across the county against drug theft saying that his administration was liaising with the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to investigate and prosecute those behind the drug-theft syndicate.
He said: “We have been losing drugs as a result of thieves who sell to private facilities and that is why we have asked the drug supplier to label all the drugs coming to Narok for easy tracing,”.
The drugs, he said, will be disbursed to five key hospitals in the county such as Narok County Referral, Kilgoris,Ololung’a and Ngurangurik Sub-County Hospitals.
On her part, the CEC Ms Mpeti said the department has put in measures to ensure that crucial operations at the county’s health facilities such as dialysis, Intensive Care Unit and Renal Unit are operational.
The move comes days after, Narok nurses joined the rest across the country in strike over alleged failure by the county government to implement the return-to-work formula.
The nurses led by their Kenya National Union of Nurses(KNUN)branch officials Elkana Misonge(Secretary General) Henry Onyancha(Chairman) and Simon Maika(Organizing Secretary) have vowed never to return back to work until their grievances are addressed.
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