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Medicare paralysed as nurses down tools

By Isaac Kathare | February 9th 2016

Medical services in public hospitals were yesterday interrupted as nurses went on strike over unremitted deductions.

The nurses claimed that the county government has not remitted bank loans and National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) deductions despite the fact that the money was deducted from their salaries.

The Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) said the county government had agreed to remit the allowances that include extraneous and risk allowances but has never honoured its word since 2014.

KNUN Tharaka Nithi Branch Executive Secretary Kenneth Micheni said whenever nurses try to follow up, county officials intimidate them through unnecessary transfers.

"We shall resume duties when all allowances are harmonised, medical practitioners are promoted, newly employed workers are given personal numbers and pay slips and when house allowances are paid according to Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) circular," Mr Micheni said.

He added that negotiations between the union and the county government were fruitless since the latter failed to make a written agreement on when and how to remit the allowances. The nurses also claimed that the newly employed health workers have never been entered into a pension scheme.

"We know there is cholera outbreak in Tharaka region but are assuming the county government has made alternative arrangements because our nurses who have been operating in the medical camps have also boycotted duties," he said.

Health Executive Magdalene Njeru said: "The issue of remittance of allowances is being addressed and we are wondering why the nurses are so inhuman to boycott duties especially when our people are in danger of cholera."

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