PATIENTS DISCHARGED

Health services paralysed as workers strike in Baringo

Some patients in critical condition in wards and ICUs left unattended

In Summary

• Patients in critical condition in wards and ICUs unattended.

• Patients discharged and ordered to leave, most beds empty.

 

Patient stranded at Baringo Referral HospitaL in Kabarnet after all wre discharged on Friday, Septemer 11, due to a health workers' strike.
STRANDED: Patient stranded at Baringo Referral HospitaL in Kabarnet after all wre discharged on Friday, Septemer 11, due to a health workers' strike.
Image: JOSEPH KANGOGO

Seriously ill and critical patients were stranded at Baringo County Referral Hospital in Kabarnet town on Friday has the strike by health workers entered its  second day.

On Wednesday, more than 100 workers ordered patients to leave and gave the county government 24 hours to address their problems - from promotions to providing PPEs for those dealing with Covid-19 patients.

“We demand nothing less than our immediate job confirmation and promotions,” Nurses Association national vice chairman Moses Chirchir said.

The medics are also demanding supply of PPEs to workers handling Covid-19 patients and carrying out tests. They want each health worker to be given two PPE gowns, two surgical masks and goggles per day.

Strikers include clinical officers, nurses, public health workers, nutritonists and physiotherapists. Doctors threaten to join them on Monday.

All health facilities are affected.

The county says it doesn't have money for promotions but will handle confirmations.

Baringo health workers protest in Kabarnet town on Thursday.
STRIKERS: Baringo health workers protest in Kabarnet town on Thursday.
Image: JOSEPH KANGOGO

Chirchir said their 24-hour ultimatum lapsed on Thursday at midnight but their issues were not addressed.

A number of patients were left unattended to, most of them at the referral hospital in Kabarnet. They included patients in the ICU.

Some were physically unable to leave, though they were ordered out.

Waiting bays and sick beds were empty.

Patient Evans Korir who suffered a broken leg in a road accident was crying in pain, saying he had not been treated for two days.

"At least I can survive this injury," he told the Star. "I pity my fellows who must survive on life-support machines in the ICU."

He urged Governor Stanley Kiptis to resolve strikers' issues so they can resume duties and help patients.

Empty benches for waiting patients at the Baringo Referral Hospital in Kabarnet on Friday, September 11..
EMPTY: Empty benches for waiting patients at the Baringo Referral Hospital in Kabarnet on Friday, September 11..
Image: JOSEPH KANGOGO

Nurses' association official Chirchir said Kiptis "should address our issues, or else, so we can put to rest the strike and go back to work."

County Health executive Mary Panga said the department is ready to confirm and redesignate workers as demanded.

“But promotions are difficult at the moment because of limited resources,” Panga said.

The health boss said the county needs at least Sh270 million to promote all health workers in all cadres.

The wage bill stands at 56 per cent of the budget and if we promote health staff, it will shoot up to 60 per cent," she said.

She said given its meagre resources, the county cannot raise funds to meet all demands at this time "but we are together on this journey". 

Health chief officer Dr Gideon Toromo urged workers to bear with the situation andreturn to work as their issues are being discussed.

(Edited by V. Graham)

Empty treatment table at Baringo Referral Hospital in Kabarnet on Friday.
NO TREATMENT: Empty treatment table at Baringo Referral Hospital in Kabarnet on Friday.
Image: JOSEPH KANGOGO
Empty service desk at Baringo Referral Hospital-Kabarnet on Friday, September 11.
NO HELP: Empty service desk at Baringo Referral Hospital-Kabarnet on Friday, September 11.
Image: JOSEPH KANGOGO