- Health executive says county has been unable to pay health workers due to delayed disbursement of funds from National Treasury.
- The nurses accuse the Homa Bay government of failure to promote some 150 members since September last year.
More than 800 nurses in Homa Bay will go on strike beginning Thursday over delayed salaries and poor working conditions.
The nurses threatened to down their tools should the Homa Bay government fail to provide them with adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Homa Bay branch of the National Nurses Association of Kenya (NNAK) said they have not received their salaries for June and July.
They accused the county government of consistent failure to abide by their agreement.
Homa Bay NNAK officials Amos Ogaga (chairman), Juma Magara (treasurer), Boniface Oudia (organising secretary) and Omondi Nyonje (assistant secretary) said they will start the strike on Thursday should the government not pay them.
“There is a need to end the frequent disregard of salary remittance agreements between us and the employer. We’ll not report to duty from Thursday until our monetary issues are addressed,” Nyonje said.
Speaking on Saturday in Homa Bay town, the health workers said they were demoralised even as they help in battling the Covid-19 pandemic.
“You cannot work or fight the virus when you’re hungry. Let Homa Bay government pay nurses to avoid squabbles which may result in a strike,” Nyonje read in their statement.
The nurses accused the Homa Bay government of failure to promote some 150 members since September 2019 despite promising to comply as they agreed.
Nyonje revealed that their colleagues undertaking duties at the three main Covid-19 isolation centres had not been paid their allowances since April.
They demanded distribution of PPE to health workers to prevent them from contracting the virus during work.
“Homa Bay health workers have resorted to buying their own PPE because the government doesn’t supply them with the equipment,” Nyonje said.
Magara appealed to Governor Cyprian Awiti to intervene and help them reach a permanent solution.
He said their strike was likely to throw the health sector into crisis. “A number of nurses are unable to service their loans or insurance covers, besides settling their rents due to the frustrations they undergo,” Magara said.
Homa Bay health executive Richard Muga said they would address the matter once they received funds before the medics begin their strike.
Muga said they had been unable to pay the health workers due to delayed disbursement of funds from the National Treasury.
He said they will settle all the allowances demanded and urged the t nurses to continue their duties to help residents fight coronavirus.
“We understand their salary concerns and we’re communicating with all health workers to address the matter before Thursday,” Muga said.
Edited by Henry Makori