Crisis hits hospitals as workers stay away

Betty Nyakundi (right) a nephrology nurse at Nyamira County Hospital briefs the Medical Superintendent Dr Cyrus Ayunga as a patient Mr Patrick Moga undergoes dialysis at the facility in this [picture taken in 2016].  [PHOTO: STANLEY ONGWAE/STANDARD]

People living with HIV and kidney patients are major casualties of the ongoing paralysis of healthcare services in the county as nurses continue to boycott work.

Public hospitals have been deserted for two months now and patients who cannot afford treatment in private hospitals are being turned away.

The nurses, like other county employees, have not been paid for three months. According to the county officials, this is due to hitches and delays in the budget-making process.

Although other county services have also suffered as a result of the salary stand-off, the health sector has been hardest hit.

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The HIV and renal clinics have remained non-operational as the medics demand their unpaid salaries.

Patients who were receiving dialysis services at Nyamira County Referral Hospital are now going to the neighbouring Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital.

Stop working

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The various workers’ unions - Kenya National Union of Nurses, Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union and Clinical Officers National Union - ordered all their members to stop working until all their salary arrears were paid.

The county government has been silent concerning the crisis; the county assembly is also non-committal about resolving the situation.

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When contacted, the Health executive declined to comment about the matter and instead referred The Standard to the chief officer, who also said he was not in a position to issue a statement about the crisis.

“At the moment I don’t have anything to say about the situation,” said Chief Officer Jack Magara.

County Commissioner Isaiah Nakoru has declared the ongoing paralysis of health services as a human rights concern and called on the county government to act urgently.

Mr Nakoru said the situation was a clear indication the county leadership had failed to deliver basic services to its people.

Clear violation

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“Denying people their basic right to healthcare is a clear violation of their human rights as enshrined in the Bill of Rights. County leaders should not take this lightly,” Nakoru said.

Last week, Deputy Governor Amos Nyaribo said the matter was being addressed and promised the workers that money would be available by end of the month (July).

A spot check by The Standard yesterday showed families opting to take their sick relatives to private hospitals.

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