Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru has been told to soften her stance in a bid to end the ongoing workers' strike which has paralysed health services at Kerugoya Referral Hospital.
Kirinyaga Central MP Munene Wambugu has told the governor to humble herself and agree to dialogue with the workers and their union’s officials so that the strike that has left hundreds of residents who seek treatment at the hospital suffering can be called off.
"The governor should stop being adamant. She should allow dialogue in order to address the problems the residents are facing since the day the more than 1,000 workers laid down their tools," he said Saturday Karaini Primary School during Madaraka Day celebrations.
He said Kerugoya has become a ghost hospital after people transferred their patients to private clinics and other public hospitals outside the region following the strike.
Mr Wambugu said gone are the days when leaders used to refuse to dialogue when things went bad.
"If the governor has the interests of residents at heart, she should urgently intervene to resolve the crisis in the health sector," he added.
The workers boycotted work on Wednesday accusing Governor Waiguru's government of failing to address their demands.
They vowed to stay away from Kerugoya and other hospitals in the region until their demands are met.
The workers abandoned patients in the wards, forcing relatives to evacuate them.
"There are no doctors and nurses to take care of our parents, sons and daughters who are in the wards. We are now transferring them to other places before they all die here," said Mr James Kamau.
Susan Wanjiku also transferred her father, Johnson Kariuki, to a private hospital outside Kirinyaga County.
"My father was very sick and I had to take quick action. I know a private hospital is very expensive but I had no option as Kerugoya Hospital is in a major crisis," she said.
CLEAN BILL OF HEALTH
The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Board Chief Executive Officer, Dr Daniel Yumbya, visited the hospital and cleared it to continue admitting patients.
Dr Yumbya gave the hospital a clean bill of health even as the workers insisted that it was still filthy and vowed to go on with their strike.
A spot check by the Nation has established that most of the wards are empty due to mass transfers of patients.
The outpatients department is completely deserted as residents have kept away from the hospital due to the doctors’ strike.
Workers laid down their tools protesting against the failure by Ms Waiguru to meet them to discuss the problems facing the health sector.
They complained that the county government had failed to reinstate all the 346 casual workers it sacked in April and also refused to pay three doctors who are pursuing master’s degrees their ten-month salaries.
The workers claimed that the hospital is still not fully functional as the autoclave machine for sterilising medical equipment is faulty.
They said some of the laboratory test machines broke down and have not been repaired.
Led by officials of their four unions, the workers also accused the government of refusing to promote them and provide a conducive working environment for all staff.
"All workers are demotivated. Some have contracted diseases for working in a filthy hospital and this is unacceptable," said the central region KMPDU Secretary Gor Goody