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We'll go on with strike, healthcare workers say

Health & Science - By Anyango Otieno and Kirsten Kanja | January 20th 2021 at 12:00:00 GMT +0300
Kenyatta National Hospital.

Striking healthcare workers have maintained that they will not call off their strike unless their demands are met.

This came even as the Council of Governors (CoG) said it won't pay the striking medics, spelling doom for patients who have now been forced to seek medical services from private hospitals.

At a press briefing yesterday at the Kenyatta National Hospital, nurses union representatives protested alleged intimidation and coercion to have the striking health workers go back to work.

They asked President Uhuru Kenyatta to intervene in the matter.

“We are concerned about the ping-pong games between the national government and the COG. It seems no one wants to take responsibility for their role in the problem. We appeal that as much as we have 47 counties, we are still under one national government. Why can’t the Ministry of Health and those of Labour and Finance sit down with the COG to fix the crisis?” asked Alfred Obengo, president of National Nurses Association of Kenya (NNAK).

Albert Taiti, chair of the Kenya Clinical Officers Association, said it was unfair for health workers to be intimidated through warning letters and sackings while demanding their rights.

The health workers also appealed for the establishment of a constitutional Health Service Commission to centrally manage human capital in the health sector.

“It is the general concern of healthcare workers that this commission, if implemented as proposed, will not only solve the perennial human resource crises witnessed in the country, but will go a long way in restoring order in the healthcare delivery system,” reads part of a statement by the NNAK.

“When we hear our employers, the COG and some from the national government say that they are totally unable to handle the demands, we wonder who we can go to. Can we appeal to the Head of State?” said NNAK chair, Stella Githaiga.

Kenya National Union of Nurses Secretary General Seth Panyako called out the CoG for frustrating their efforts for dialogue and now wants the president to intervene and end the stalemate.

Panyako said they were not ready to go back to work until their grievances are addressed.

Panyako and his deputy Maurice Opetu on Monday accused CoG chairperson Wycliffe Oparanya of mishandling the issue.

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