Patients in pain as health workers' strike enters day three

Anguished patients went without medical services for a third day yesterday as health workers intensified their strike over delayed July pay.

Patients who travelled long distances to the county’s major hospitals were shocked to find no doctors, clinical officers and nurses.

At Iten County Referral Hospital, the county’s biggest hospital, some patients lay on waiting benches with the hope that health workers would resume duties.

Kipkulei Chelimo from neighbouring Baringo County had brought his ailing mother to county referral facility at 8 am on Wednesday but by 3pm, the 83-year-old woman had not been attended to.

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Services in several other health facilities including Chebiemit, Tambach, Kamwosor and Kaptarakwa sub-county hospitals were paralysed.

Sally Kiprotich, an expectant mother who had gone to Tambach sub-county hospital to deliver, was forced to rush to the Moi Teaching and Referral in Hospital in Eldoret after she discovered there were no nurses and doctors at the facility.

Health workers, through workers their unions, vowed to continue with the strike until they are paid their July salaries.

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Kenya National Union of Nurses (Knun), Elgeyo Marakwet chapter official Benson Biwott said the county administration had not issued official information on when county workers would be paid their dues.

Shut down facilities

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Last week, Governor Alex Tolgos had promised workers would be paid by Monday this week but that did happen.

Biwott accused Health Executive Kiprono Chepkok of intimidating health workers who are on strike.

Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union Elgeyo Marakwet liaison officer Maurice Chebasa told medical superintendents in hospitals to shut down all health facilities.

Dr Chebasa said doctors were willing to resume duties but the county had shown no commitment to pay the delayed July salaries.

He said most health workers cannot provide for their families due to the delayed pay.

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“The county is denying us the chance to serve humanity. Today, patients are suffering in their houses because there are no services in hospitals,” Chebasa said.

He asked Tolgos to return Elgeyo Marakwet’s health department to the national government, saying the county was no longer able to manage the sector.

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Governor Alex TolgosIten County Referral HospitalMedics strike