Loading...


By EDITORIAL
More by this Author

The public health sector is staring at difficult times ahead, with nurses expected to down tools today almost countrywide. According to the Kenya National Union of Nurses, which has called out its members, the strike will begin in all except three counties — Mombasa, Migori and Machakos — that have paid pending allowances to the nurses, complying with their collective agreement.

This is a challenging time for the governors, but it is just the continuation of a problem that confirms the heavy burden of providing healthcare that the counties have increasingly shown their inability to handle. However, new Council of Governors chairman Wycliffe Oparanya was several days ago still optimistic and that the dispute would be resolved to avert a strike.

It will be recalled that the last strike by this key cadre of health workers had a devastating effect on the delivery of services in the public health centres and hospitals. Last November, the nurses’ union issued a strike notice over delay in the payment of uniform and risk allowances. It was this agreement that broke the deadlock, ending the nurses’ five-month strike that had turned the public health facilities into ghost towns.

Loading...

One of the most appalling consequences arising from the strike was failure to immunise children. Maternity, surgery and inpatient services were also crippled when the nurses shunned duty, making this one of the worst public health crises in the country’s history. A return to such a sorry scenario would be disastrous and should, therefore, not be allowed.

We hope that the conciliation team appointed by the Labour ministry will immediately get down to work with the governors’ council and the union to resolve the impasse and avert another long disruption of the critical healthcare services. All the parties must show a genuine commitment to ensuring that prompt measures are taken to mitigate the consequences.



Loading...