Nurses' unions oppose hiring on contract

Nurses and nursing students in a procession to mark the Nurses Week celebration in Homa Bay town on May 3, 2019. The Chief Administrative Secretary for Public Service and Gender Rachel Shebesh and Homa Bay Deputy Governor Hamilton Orata graced the function. [James Omoro/Standard]

Nurses across the country have opposed plans to employ them on contract.

Union officials attending a Nurses’ Week in Homa Bay on Friday said they will not accept any move to change their terms of employment.

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.

They told the government to prepare to face the consequences of such a decision.

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National Nurses Association of Kenya chairman Alfred Obengo and his Kenya Progressive Nurses Association counterpart Michael Nyongesa told the government and COG to rethink the plan.

Prepare for consequences

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

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“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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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NursesHoma BayContractPublic Service Commission