• The health workers went on strike on Friday to demand timely release of salaries, overdue promotions, uniform allowances and efficient remittance of statutory deductions.
• On Tuesday, Garissa county secretary Abdi Ali and senior officials met the health workers' unions leaders and agreed on a return-to-work formula.
Patients in Garissa will begin to get services again after health workers on Tuesday called off a four-day strike following a deal with the county government.
The health workers went on strike on Friday to demand timely release of salaries, overdue promotions, uniform allowances and efficient remittance of statutory deductions.
They also wanted the absorption of locum healthcare workers and improvement of working conditions for staff.
On Tuesday, Garissa county secretary Abdi Ali and senior officials met the health workers' union leaders and agreed on a return-to-work formula.
Dr Hassan Mohamed, the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union Garissa chair, said the health workers were happy that the government agreed to address their grievances.
"We are satisfied with the steps so far taken and shall start attending to patients who have been suffering," Abdi said.
Matters agreed upon included promotions and redesignation of staff, NHIF medical cover, prompt remittance of statutory deductions and payment of salaries.
On promotion, the officials said only 705 out of 1,202 on government payroll had applied. The department asked for a month to compile data on the 497 who hadn't applied to be factored in. The county executive will approve those seconded based on budgetary allocation.
The government and the unions also agreed that uniform allowances for nurses will be paid in October alongside the salary.
The workers will get leave allowance staggered over a three-month period starting January 2021. The three years' arrears will also be paid during this period.
The county has committed to improving the working environment of health workers immediately funds from the national government are received.
The administration also committed to remitting all the statutory deductions and paying salaries on time.
The parties agreed that the absorption of locum healthcare workers will be tabled to the board for deliberations.
Further, the county promised that no union member or official who participated in the strike would be victimised or intimidated. The county government said it recognises the employees' right to picket.
Also present at the meeting were the deputy county secretary Abdirashid Hussein, health chief officer Abdishukri Abdi, director, health administration Abdullahi Daud, secretary to the Public Service Board Mohamed Abdi and payroll manager Yussuf Mohamed.
Representatives of nurses', laboratory technicians' and clinical officers' unions were also present.
(edited by o. owino)