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WANT PROMOTIONS

Busia hospital operations disrupted by health workers' strike

But county government denies it has failed to promote the workers.

In Summary
  • They are demanding a review of their contract terms.
  • Workers say they are ready to negotiate with the county government.
Health workers at the Busia County Referral Hospital
NO WORK: Health workers at the Busia County Referral Hospital
Image: EMOJONG OSERE

Medical services in Busia were disrupted after health workers went on strike on Monday.

The health practitioners are agitating for promotion, among other demands. They claim the last time the county government effected promotions was in 2014.

They are also demanding a review of their contract terms. The medics allege that some of their colleagues have been in employment on contract for long and want such staff employed on a permanent basis and their salaries increased.

 
 

Busia Kenya National Union of Nurses secretary Isaiah Omondi told the Star their members were overworked as a result of the shortage of health workers across the county.

He said the county should employ more workers to ease the burden on those presently offering medical services under what he described as unfriendly working conditions.

The health workers downed their tools two days after acting Health chief executive and deputy governor Moses Mulomi appealed to them to suspend their strike and stop subjecting county residents to suffering.

Mulomi on Saturday called on the striking workers to engage in dialogue to address their demands at a time Covid-19 was posing a danger to the lives of Busia residents. But he denied claims that the county had not promoted health workers since 2014.

“The Department of Health has awarded promotions based on the set guidelines. In 2018, 168 health workers were promoted, 167 in 2019 and 381 promotions are being processed currently, while 98 will be redesignated,” the DG said on Saturday.

“Fifty nine health workers were reconsidered by the national government for promotion in 2014, a process that is still ongoing, with the majority having been promoted.”

Mulomi dismissed claims that some workers had not been paid their salaries, saying that any delays witnessed were a result of the procedural measures supposed to be adhered to.

 

He acknowledged the role played by the frontline health workers, asserting that the county government was keen on ensuring that they were protected against Covid-19 as they undertook their duties.

 

But Omondi said most of the demands that Mulomi had said had been met were still in discussion.

“We have been calling for a meeting with them. They never responded,” he said.

“Expect no one to report to work. The strike has begun, but if they agree to talk, we will sit and talk.”

County Medical Services director Janerose Ambuchi said she expected representatives of the striking workers to attend a Tuesday meeting convened to solve their issues.

“We are going to meet them. Let us wait and see what will come out of the meeting,” she told the Star on phone.

She, however, told those on strike to report to work as their grievances were discussed at the highest level within the executive arm of the county government.

Mulomi said the county would pay Covid-19 allowances to the health workers from the Sh103 million supplementary budget passed by the county assembly.

Edited by Henry Makori