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Kin buried as talks to end nurses' strike hit deadlock

 A relative is overcome by grief during the burial of the deceased. [PHOTO: DENNIS MBAE/STANDARD]

Two members of the same family who died three days after nurses in the county downed their tools have been laid to rest.

Mary Wangari, 64, and her daughter Caroline Wanjiku were buried in one grave in an emotional send-off at Endarasha last week on Friday.

Ms Wangari, a mother of five, succumbed to a heart attack last week, shortly after her 39-year-old daughter, who had been admitted to the Nyeri County Referral Hospital at the time nurses went on strike, passed on at their home in Blue Valley Estate in Nyeri.

“Following the industrial action by the nurses, our family withdrew my ailing sister from Nyeri County Referral Hospital and took her home. She breathed her last as family members were preparing to take her to Consolata Mission Hospital,” said Alex Mwangi, the last-born in the family.

Mwangi, a Fourth Year Finance Student at Mount Kenya University in Thika, is still reeling from the shock after losing two of his family members at almost the same time.

He and other family members could hardly contain their grief as the procession bearing the remains of the deceased made its way to the grave led by Nyeri Baptist Pastor Harun Miatu.


Mwangi had to skip his final examination to attend the funeral.

Before her ailment and subsequent demise, Mwangi’s sister was running her own hotel in South Sudan where she had lived for four years.

Her deteriorating health however prompted her to return to Kenya and seek medication in various health facilities including Kenyatta National Hospital.

Unfortunately, her 23-year-old daughter Maureen Wangari, who received the news of her mother’s death while in Jordan could not make it home on time to lay her to rest.

This comes against the backdrop of a heated standoff between the county government and the nurses. Talks to end the prolonged industrial action have ended in a deadlock.

On Friday, Health Executive Charles Githinji announced that the county administration would take disciplinary action against recalcitrant nurses who had defied an Industrial Court order directing them to resume their duties.

“The nurses who refused to return to work risk losing their jobs and will face contempt of court charges. As a government, we have resolved to recruit qualified and registered nurses, including retired ones, who will work in our facilities on short-term contracts,” Githinji stated.

According to Githinji, only 300 out of 800 nurses reported for duty on Friday morning. He warned that names of the obstinate nurses would be forwarded to the County Public Service Board after expiry of seven days.

While the government insists that the nurses must first obey the court order for any meaningful negotiations to take place, the latter maintain they will only engage the county administration once the conditions for talks are lifted. Githinji has also issued a warning to a section of other cadres of health workers who he claims have joined the nurses’ industrial action without giving a strike notice.

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