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100 medics hired in October by Kisumu county not posted

By Mactilda Mbenywe and Kevine Omollo | January 1st 2020 at 12:00:00 GMT +0300

Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentist Board members in Kisumu led by Nyanza Secretary general Lameck Onwri (centre) and chaiman Kevin Osuri (right) during the announcement of strike which began early December 6, 2019. [Collins Oduor, Standard]

At least 100 health workers who were hired in October, 2019, are yet to be posted by the Kisumu County government.

And the county risks losing up to Sh130 million in payment of wages to the medics since their contracts are binding.

The stalemate comes in the backdrop of the sorry state of the county’s health system, which has seen back-to-back strikes by doctors, nurses and clinical officers.

Nurses, clinical officers, pharmaceutical technologists, radiographers and laboratory technicians hired three month ago are yet to be engaged as the county administration claims it has no money to pay them.

However, Health Executive Judy Attyang confirmed that the officers would have to be paid their full dues despite not offering any services to the county since they have signed contracts.

According to the contract signed on October 14, 2019 between the medics and the county government, the health workers were to report to their work stations a day later.

“I am pleased to convey the decision of the County Public Service Board that you have been appointed as job group CPSB in the county government of Kisumu,” read an appointment letter to one of those hired.

According to the contract, the health workers were set to be engaged for three years, with the lowest paid earning a basic salary of Sh24,580.

Yesterday, Prof Attyang blamed the stalemate on miscommunication between the county administration and the County Public Service Board.

She said the board did not heed the advice by the county to delay the hiring of the medics until money for their wages was available.

“We only advised the board to hire 79 people under the Universal Health Coverage programme, but they ended up hiring 179,” she said.

The 79 who were set to have one-year contracts were, however, posted to various hospitals, with the remaining 100 advised to wait until the county government gets money.

“It is true that the 100 were hired, but we cannot post them because we do not have money... but we will have to backdate their pay once they are posted,” she said.

Attyang explained that plans were underway to deploy the workers in the next financial year once funds were available.

The affected employees told The Standard they were all given employment letters but a few were deployed.

“I resigned from my job thereafter, hoping that I would report to work and support my family. Now I cannot even afford a meal,” said an affected medic who sought anonymity.

The medics said efforts to seek the way forward from county officials had been fruitless.

A source said 79 of the health workers were given locum letters for one year while 100 were given three-year contracts.

The 79 were later called to collect deployment letters. The remaining 100 are yet to receive any communication.

Efforts to seek a comment from the public service board were futile. A junior officer told The Standard they were on holiday.

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