Tharaka-Nithi nurses press on with strike as County official blames politics

Tuesday March 21 2017

Kenya National Union of Nurses national chairman Joseph Ngwasi (centre) addressing striking Tharaka-Nithi County nurses on March 21, 2017 in Chuka town. PHOTO | ALEX NJERU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Kenya National Union of Nurses national chairman Joseph Ngwasi (centre) addressing striking Tharaka-Nithi County nurses on March 21, 2017 in Chuka town. PHOTO | ALEX NJERU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By ALEX NJERU
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Kenya National Union of Nurses (Knun) national chairman has told striking nurses in Tharaka-Nithi County to stay put until their demands are met.

In the strike that entered its 43rd day on Tuesday, the nurses are demanding nursing service allowance, promotions, remittance of various statutory deductions and delayed February salary.

Addressing the nurses in Chuka town, Mr Joseph Ngwasi accused the county government of failure to address the raised issues and continuing to issue disciplinary threats.

He said nurses in the other 46 counties started receiving their service allowance in January this year and county health leadership could not argue that the matter was yet to be solved by the national government.

“National treasury released the funds for the nursing service allowance early this year and the other 46 counties started paying it in January,” said Mr Ngwasi.

He noted that since devolving of the health sector, Knun has been having issues with Tharaka-Nithi government especially on salary payment and promotions.

NOT BOW

Mr Ngwasi maintained that the strike will continue and asked the members not to bow to intimidations but follow directives from their national office.

Knun county branch secretary Kenneth Micheni said county had declined promoting over 400 legible nurses.

Mr Micheni said Governor Samuel Ragwa had not responded to a memorandum by the union that was delivered at his office last week.

Knun county branch chairman Mr Fabian Marigu said their members cannot access National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) services due to delayed remittance.

Efforts to reach Mr Ragwa and other county health officials were not successful but an arlier statement by county health executive Ms Magdalene Njeru said the only 200 legible nurses had already been promoted.

She also argued that Knun county branch officials were being used by some local politicians to paralyse health sector.