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February 19, 2019

We don’t care about county plans to contract new nurses – union

Nurses strike in Kisumu.
Nurses strike in Kisumu.

Kisumu nurses have criticised plans by the county to employ nurses on a temporary basis following the strike, saying it will not bear fruit.

On Saturday, a statement by the Governor’s Press Unit said the department of health will immediately deploy the nurses.

“The department is calling upon qualified nurses willing to locum to urgently report to Kisumu County Hospital with credentials for immediate deployment,“ the statement reads.

“This is in recognition of the inherent rights of both employees and clients and considering the critical nature of healthcare services provision and with the existing constitutional advisories from appointed government institutions.”

The statement said the situation in Kisumu must be redressed with the rights of the patients in mind.

On Friday, Governor Anyang Nyong’o directed the nurses to go back to work saying their matter was being handled by the national government and Council of Governors.

Nyong’o directed the nurses to report to their work stations by 4pm on Friday or face unspecified consequences.

However, KNUN deputy secretary general Maurice Opetu yesterday said those were “normal intimidations” and they will not change their stand.

He said the county should instead consolidate the money they are going to pay the nurses on contract to pay the striking ones.

“We will make sure we recruit the contracted nurses to join our unions and later also join our strike,” he said.

The branch secretary said the county needs around 4,000 more nurses in addition to the 8,000 currently on strike. “In the past few months after the launch of the Universal Health Coverage, we have witnessed a big increase in patients. At the Kisumu County Hospital where we could handle 200 to 300 patients, last week before we started the strike we had to handle over 800 patients,” he said.

He added, “Despite all these efforts since nurses are in support of UHC, the county still cannot appreciate nurses, let them pay us.”

Kisumu nurses had defied court orders and vowed to continue with the strike until all their demands are met. This is despite the strike being suspended for 60 days to allow negotiations. The court issued the orders after the Council of Governors sought an injunction.

Opetu had told the Star on Wednesday that they will continue with their strike.

He criticised the people who are said to have obtained the court orders, saying they are the same persons who gave them the go ahead for the strike.

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