By Lydiah Nyawira
Nyeri, Kenya: The Kenya National Union of Nurses (Knun) has demanded immediate hiring of 89 nurses at the Nyeri Provincial General Hospital.
The nurses gave the Nyeri county government 14 days to employ the health workers, failure to which they would down their tools.
Speaking at a Press briefing in Nyeri town, the nurses’ union leaders claimed they had conducted independent investigations into the incident where a child died after he fell from his mother’s womb at the hospital and blamed it on understaffing.
“We would like to console the family that lost their baby but we must reiterate that this terrible incident would have been avoided if there were more nurses at the hospital,” said Knun Secretary General Seth Panyako.
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He said at the time of the incident, only three nurses were on duty to care for 25 mothers in the entire maternity wing. “We should have had at least 17 nurses on duty and it is, therefore, impractical,” Panyako explained.
He said the current shortage at the hospital was at 71.2 per cent, and the hospital had merged six wards within the facility due to this.
“The hospital requires 608 nurses yet they have only 253. The facility has been expanding without increasing the staff numbers,” he said.
The secretary general said Nyeri had only 847 nurses yet the entire county required 1,929 staff in the hospitals.
He said failure to employ more nurses would result in the union asking its members in the county to go on strike.
They gave the national government 30 days to employ 50,000 nurses to mitigate the countrywide shortage.
They also demanded an apology from Meru Governor Peter Munya over his recent remarks concerning the duties of nurses in his county.