Relief for patients as health workers suspend strike

Health workers in Homa Bay have suspended the strike following intervention by the county government.

The health workers issued a notice which expired on Monday morning but met the county government officials later in the evening and agreed to suspend the strike.

The clinical officers, nurses, laboratory technologists and nutritionists said they had agreed with the county government on their grievances.

In a statement read on their behalf by the National Deputy Secretary of the Kenya Union of Clinical Officers Austine Oduor, the health workers said they had agreed to call off the strike.

Oduor revealed that they reached the decision to suspend the strike during a crisis meeting that was convened by the County Secretary Benard Muok and the Chief Officer for Health Kevin Osuri.

Speaking after the meeting at the Department of Health offices, Oduor said they agreed that the county government will begin addressing their grievances including failure to promote deserving medics.

Other grievances are delayed salaries, failure by the employer to remit statutory deductions and the demand to reinstate medics who were removed from the payroll.

“We have agreed with the county government on the formula of addressing the grievances we presented to them. We therefore suspend the strike,” Oduor said.

Dr Osuri assured that the county government would address issues raised by the health workers.

He said that they had reinstated all health workers who presented valid employment documents after being removed from the payroll in August last year.

“The county government conducted audit of workers and some health workers were also affected by being removed from the payroll. We have reinstated all the health workers who presented genuine employment documents,” Osuri said.

The Chief Officer for Health announced that they had addressed the salary issue. “The truth is that Homa Bay has paid salaries to date. We usually have challenges with delay in receiving funds from the National Treasury but we have made arrangements with local commercial banks to ensure we get funds for timely salary payment,” Osuri said.

He promised that all deserving health workers will be promoted by October.

“We also agreed to strengthen communication with health workers to ensure thorny issues are addressed before they culminate in strikes,” Osuri said.

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