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Tharaka Nithi Governor says he will not be intimidated by striking nurses

By Dickson Mwiti | Published Wed, April 26th 2017 at 00:00, Updated April 26th 2017 at 18:04 GMT +3

The nurses' strike has been on for 78 days now.

The nurses downed their tools on February 6, demanding promotions, remittance of statutory fees, and payment of nursing service allowances.

They are also protesting against shortage of drugs and poor working conditions.

Early this month, the county suspended the 125 striking nurses, accusing them of  sabotaging health services.

On Monday, Governor Samuel Ragwa ruled out negotiations with the striking nurses, telling them to call off the strike first.

"We shall not be intimidated anymore by the nurses. Those who want go back to work can write to us and we shall accept them. Those who are not ready can continue staying at home," he said.

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He accused the nurses of making 'unreasonable' demands and putting lives at risk.

"We are losing lives and many people are not visiting public health facilities after learning that services are not operational," he said.

But the nurses have vowed to stay put until the county meets their demands.

The chairperson of the Kenya National Union of Nurses in the county, Fabiano Marigu, said the nurses had been oppressed since the beginning of devolution.

"We have never been paid on time since devolution started. We have members who have never been issued with personal numbers since 2014, among other issues that the government is not ready to address," he said.

He told the county government to stop politicising health issues and instead meet the nurses' demands.

The nurses accused the governor of intimidation and vowed that they would not resume duty.

"We are ready to continue with the strike even for five years," said Mr Marigu.

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