Nearly a week after nurses ended a month-long strike, services are not yet back to normal in major health facilities.
Nurses resumed duties after signing a return-to-work formula with the county government on January 4, after they went on strike on December 1.
In the agreement, the employer promised to withdraw interdiction letters that had earlier been issued to 35 nurses and pay accrued salaries.
But the nurses returned to find wards deserted as patients kept away from the facilities amidst a paralysing doctors’ strike.
Most public hospitals are still not receiving inpatients and surgical wards have since shut down.
A nurse at the Rift Valley Provincial General Hospital told The Standard that all wards had been closed because of the strike.
The nurses who requested anonymity because of fear of being victimised said those attached to provide services in wards only report to register and return home.
There are no night shifts at the Level Five hospital that also serves neighbouring Bomet, Narok, Nyandarua, Baringo, Laikipia and Samburu counties among others.
“Nurses are back to work but all wards are closed because there are no doctors to conduct surgical operations among other procedures to patients,” said the nurse.
At Gilgil Sub-county hospital, the wards are deserted, with nurses and clinical officers only providing general medical services.
Governor Kinuthia Mbugua pleaded with the striking doctors to resume work and take the pay deal offered by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Mbugua said the strike was hurting patients from humble families who were not able to raise money to seek alternative treatment in private hospitals.
“We are grateful that nurses are back at work but the challenge is now with the doctors, to whom we appeal to arrive at an agreement with the Government,” said Mbugua.
Some 140 nurses, 25 lab technicians, 17 pharmacists and five health record officers recently hired on a seven-month-contract by the county are still being taken through orientation as majority of them had little or no experience.
According to Nakuru health executive Mungai Kabii, nurses and healthcare workers who had been employed at the County Referral Hospital during the strike will only be retained after review of their performance.
“They will posted to other hospitals because we still have a shortage of nurses,” said Mr Kabii.
Kabii said the issue of doctors’ strike was being handled by the national government.
“The doctors’ strike is a national issue but we have volunteers and consultants,” said Kabii.