Narok health workers issue strike notice

Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union South Rift Valley Branch Secretary Davji Atellah speaks at Nakuru Level Five Hospital on September 4, 2020.

Photo credit: Joseph Openda | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Union officials said they were available for negotiations with the county government. 
  • According Dr Atellah, many of the public hospitals in the region are understaffed and lack equipment.

Four health workers’ unions have issued a 14-day strike notice to Narok County government.

The Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentist Union (KMPDU) South Rift Valley Branch, Kenya Union of Clinical Officers (Kuco), Kenya National Union of Nurses (Knun) and Kenya Health Professionals Society (KHPS) representatives on Thursday threatened to let their members down tools over delays in promoting their members. 

Their other grievances included understaffing, lack of health insurance cover, National Hospital Insurance Fund comprehensive cover, car loans and quality Personal Preventive Equipment (PPEs) amidst coronavirus pandemic.

“The devolved unit has failed to implement the doctors’ Collective Bargaining Agreement of 2017,” read the strike notice seen by the Nation.

The notice, which has been copied to Narok Governor Samuel ole Tunai, County Labour officer and chief officers in the Health, Finance departments also accused the devolved unit of delays in remitting  health staff's statutory deductions. It also accused the county of not harmonising salaries for health workers on contract.

 The strike notice has been signed by branch secretaries Davji Atellah (KMPDU), Aron Kibet (Kuco) Misonge Elkana (Knun) and Henry Twala (KHPS).

However, the union officials said they were available for negotiations with the county government to avert the looming strike.

“We are available for any discussions pertaining our grievances for the next 14 days but after expiry of the notice, there will be no further reference,” the strike notice stated.

Meanwhile, most public hospitals in Nakuru and Narok counties are still struggling to combat the spread of coronavirus with limited equipment and staff.

According Dr Atellah, many public hospitals in the region are understaffed and lack equipment.

“There is a sporadic distribution of Personal Preventive Equipment (PPEs) in Narok which is risky to the safety of health workers and this is a major concern that needs to be addressed,” said Dr Atellah.

“Most of the public hospitals in Narok have shortage of doctors and specialised physicians,” he said.  

He added: “Nakuru County has acquired more ventilators, PPEs and other health equipment after we signed a Memorandum of Understanding to ensure there is regular provision of these equipment and employment of more health staff.”  

He, however, revealed that the county lacked enough reagents for testing Covid-19.