Vihiga, Kenya: Patients at the Vihiga Hospital have been evacuated following the health workers strike that commenced Wednesday.
A spot check by The Standard on Saturday at the main facility that serves the entire county revealed that the wards had remained empty as residents struggled to take their patients to neighbouring counties for treatment.
Patients who spoke to The Standard on Saturday said that they were devastated by the turn of events and were worried that many people who were in critical condition may die due to the health workers strike.
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"This is the main hospital that serves the entire region. We do not know where we will take our patients because most of us cannot even afford to transfer them to other hospitals in the neighbouring counties," said Mariam Adembesa.
It was a horrific day for the residents who had patients in critical condition as they were forced to take care of them by themselves.
Kenya National Union of Nurses, Vihiga Chapter, officials remained adamant that they were not going to resume work unless they are paid their salaries that have been delayed.
The health workers camped at the county headquarters on the last two consecutive days and paralysed services for several hours complaining of unpaid water and electricity bills in the major health facilities in the county leading to poor service delivery.
"Although we are a dedicated lot of workers in this region, we sometimes reach on the brink of giving up altogether. Our families are in shambles because of the unpaid salaries and we are now operating on a shoe string budget," said Caleb Maloba, secretary to the union said.
He said that they had no option other than demonstrating to the county headquarters to face the governor as they suspected that the officers tasked with the health docket were not doing enough to salvage the situation.
"We refuse to be cheated that the county government is broke and cannot pay its workers," he said.
Akaranga blamed the Integrated Financial Management and Information System (IFMIS) for the delayed salaries, noting that no county employee had been paid the February salaries.