Public hospitals hardest hit as county workers start strike

Patients stranded at the Meru Level Five Hospital after county government workers began their strike yesterday. [Olivia Murithi, Standard]
Hospitals were the hardest hit as county workers in some parts of the country began a strike to agitate for payment of their July salaries.

The delay in payment and the resultant strike were caused by a standoff between the National Assembly and the Senate over the Division of Revenue Bill, 2019.

Patients who had travelled long distances were either turned away or spent hours queuing for treatment.

The strike had been called by the Kenya County Government Workers Union, which has vowed to disrupt normal operations in the counties until its members are paid in full.

SEE ALSO :County workers set to strike over July salary

In Meru, Carol Muriuki, a cancer patient cut a pitiable figure in one of the benches at the county Level Five hospital.

“l came to get medicine and for chemo, but l have found the services paralysed. As cancer patients, we are pleading with the Government to act because we will be subjected to a lot of pain," the Embu resident said.

Gregory Mutuma who had brought his brother to treat a fractured leg said the family could not afford to take their kin to a private facility.

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The workers from several cadres; clinicians, nurses, medical laboratory technologists and pharmaceutical technologists, who addressed the media at the hospital said they have been receiving empty promises from the county executive.

At the Rift Valley Provincial General Hospital, in Nakuru town, Ruth Nyambura, 82, who arrived at 6am to see a specialist after undergoing an operation to remove a tumour in her stomach, was forced to return home unattended.

SEE ALSO :Act quickly to give counties their revenue, end suffering

“I woke up at 5am so that I can be here on time and be attended to. But none has even bothered to tell me why I cannot be attended to," she said. She had travelled from Munanda village in Subukia sub-county.

There were no admission at the Margaret Kenyatta Mother-Baby Wing.

In Taita Taveta County, hundreds of county government workers walked out of their offices and stormed the governor’s offices to demand their July salaries.

There were similar scenes in Elgeyo Marakwet county, where union and workers stormed Governor Alex Tolgos’ office demanding to be paid their salaries.

Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) secretary, Elgeyo Marakwet chapter Benson Biwott said the workers would picket outside the governor’s office until they paid.

SEE ALSO :AG holds key for counties to withdraw funds

“We were here parading for our salaries and we have been promised that it will be paid by Friday. Next week, all our members will come to Iten for a parade as we demand for or salaries,” Biwott said after being addressed being the governor.

At Kisumu County Hospital, patients waited for hours to be treated.

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Division of Revenue Bill2019National AssemblyKenya County Government Workers UnionKNUN