Trans Nzoia nurses call off 44-day strike

Nurses in Trans Nzoia have called off a strike that had paralysed services in all public health centres in the county for 44 days. The strike ended Friday after the County Government agreed to the demands by nurses and also promised to foster a good rapport with the health workers.

Speaking to the press at the Kitale County Hospital Friday, County Executive Committee (CEC) member for Health Dr. Isaac Kogo said that normal services would now resume in public hospitals.

He regretted that the strike had caused a lot of suffering to patients, especially those who could not afford health services in private hospitals. Dr Kogo said that the nurses would be promoted upon presentation of their certificates without the suitability test that they had set as a bench mark for promotion.

Dr Kogo was accompanied by the County Secretary Pius Munialo, Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) National Treasurer George Shiveka and the Union’s Trans Nzoia Branch leaders among other nurses.

The nurses had expressed fears that a suitability test would discriminate against some of the nurses, especially those who were not in good books with the top management.

Through their branch General Secretary Willy Sifuna, they said they would not yield to a suitability test but instead be promoted normally as many of them had stagnated in one job group for more than 10 years.

Other issues that had been raised by the nurses and addressed by the County Government included increasing of financial allocation on pharmaceuticals and non-pharmaceutical products.

“The County Government has agreed to increase the supplies of those commodities and no shortage will be seen,” said Sheveka who represented the national office. Dr Kogo also said that his office was working on a modality that would ensure that the nurses and other County staff got their salaries on time.

The employer also agreed to withdrawal of demotion letters issued to nurses on strike and further withdraw a court case at the Kisumu Labour court. “There will be no victimisation of the nurses’ union officials by the County Government,” he assured the nurses.

They all agreed to work harmoniously in future by embracing dialogue to avoid undue suffering of patients in the County. The CEC said the County Government was still committed to ensuring that the standards of health in Trans Nzoia were improved.

“We will increase allocation of funds to the Health Department for purchase of enough drugs and other facilities which will be delivered on time,” he added. -KNA

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