Kirinyaga health workers to go on strike in seven days

Wednesday March 18 2020

Kirinyaga County Governor Anne Waiguru. FILE PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Four unions in Kirinyaga County have issued a seven-day notice for a health workers strike, citing poor conditions at facilities including Kerugoya Hospital.

The four are Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union; Kenya National Union of Nurses; Kenya National Union of Clinical Officers; and Kenya National Union of Medical Laboratory Officers.

A crisis looms as the doctors said the strike was inevitable and that there will be no retreating since Governor Anne Waiguru has not met their demands.


Speaking to the press in Kerugoya town on Tuesday, the unions' officials complained that some medical equipment at Kerugoya was not working while reagents for the laboratory tests had not been procured.

They also noted that the government had been adamant about reinstating Kerugoya's 346 health casual workers who were sacked in a bid to reduce the ballooning wage bill, and about paying the salaries of four doctors pursuing masters degrees.

The doctors further claimed all the health facilities in the area were understaffed yet the government was unwilling to employee more workers to relieve those who are overworked.

"The government has absolutely declined to meet our demands and efforts to seek audience with the governor and the Health Chief Officer Dr Stanley Muriithi have been unsuccessful," said KMPDU's Central region Secretary, Dr Gor Goody.

Regina Karigi, the nurses' union secretary for Kirinyaga, "At Kerugoya hospital we have only 17 doctors instead of 40. The nurses are also very few so we are forced to work for more hours than required."


The nurses also said Kerugoya is still unclean because only a handful of subordinate staff are charged with cleaning it and other health facilities in the region.

Ms Karigi claimed that four nurses had contracted hepatitis B and diarrhoea for working in an unhygienic environment.

"We can't continue working in unhygienic environment. We can't continue risking our lives," she said.

Alice Wanjohi, a clinical officers' union official, said they were all ready for the industrial action.

"We are going to have one of the most successful strikes in the region in protest against poor working conditions for all health workers," she said.

Governor Waiguru recently visited the hospital and dismissed the claims as untrue, saying unknown parties were out to portray her administration as inefficient.

She alleged sabotage by senior medical officers and politicians eyeing her seat in the 2022 general election.