Why nurses are opposing plan to hire them on contracts

The Chief Administrative Secretary for Public Service and Gender Rachel Shebesh during the launch of the National Nurses’ Campaign Week in Homa Bay on Friday. [James Omoro, Standard]
Nurses across the country have opposed plans to employ them on contract.

Officials of nurses unions attending a Nurses’ week in Homa Bay town on Friday said they will not accept any move to change their current terms of employment and told the government to prepare for consequences of their decision.

Expressed dissatisfaction

During the function officiated by the Chief Administrative Secretary for Public Service and Gender Rachel Shebesh and Homa Bay Deputy Governor Hamilton Orata, nurses’ unions expressed dissatisfaction with the Council of Governors (COG) new policy to hire nurses on contract.

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The National Nurses Association of Kenya Chairman Alfred Obengo and his Kenya Progressive Nurses Association counterpart Michael Nyongesa told the National government and the COG to stop any plans of hiring nurses on contract.

Mr Obengo said hiring nurses on contract will kill the nursing profession. He argued that the system may make nurses miss security benefits that the current nurses enjoy.

“We do not want a situation where nurses are unable to access loans from financial institutions because they are employed by the government on contract,” said Obengo.

Mr Nyongesa said the contract will amount to discrimination of the nursing fraternity.

He called on the Public Service and the COG to treat nurses equally to other government workers and said nurses played a pivotal role in the country’s healthcare.

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“We feel cheated. The government should rescind plans to hire nurses on contract,” Nyongesa added.

Ms Shebesh urged nurses to embrace dialogue whenever they have grievances. “Nurses’ strike is detrimental to the nation. Let dialogue be given priority,” Shebesh said.

She promised that the public service will not discriminate any of the government employees regardless of whether they serve under the national or county governments. “We will ensure all government employees are treated equally to enhance service delivery,” she added.

Mr Orata said they will engage nurses in implementation of universal health coverage.

“Nurses play an important role and we should accord them the support they need to serve the public better,” Orata said.

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Homa Bay is one of the counties that intends to employ health workers, including nurses on contract, and has since advertised about 140 positions.

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