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Lamu health workers withdraw services citing mistreatment

Thursday March 8 2018

Lamu health workers protest

Union of Kenya Civil Servants Lamu branch secretary Haji Shibu addresses health workers who downed their tools on March 8, 2018 and marched to the county headquarters where they sought audience with Governor Fahim Twaha over alleged mistreatment. PHOTO | KALUME KAZUNGU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

KALUME KAZUNGU
By KALUME KAZUNGU
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Health workers in Lamu County have withdrawn their services and marched out of their work stations in protest over alleged mistreatment.

The more than 100 workers accused Health Executive Raphael Munyua of humiliating, intimidating and threatening them.

Mr Munyua, they added, also harassed and victimised them.

The doctors, clinical officers, nurses, lab technicians and other support staff carried twigs and placards written “Munyua Must Go,” and “We are tired of victimisation and threats”.

DEMAND TO SEE GOVERNOR

They marched to the county government headquarters in Mokowe where they demanded to see Governor Fahim Twaha.

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Led by the Lamu County Health Workers Chairman Ahmed Farid, the protesters demanded that the county stops the process of dissolving the County Health Management Team (CHMT).

They also asked Governor Twaha to stop “micromanaging the health department”.

They also complained of uncoordinated reshuffles and frequent transfer of staff.

CONFIRM OFFICER

The protesters also called for confirmation Health Chief Officer David Mulewa saying he “understands well his staff and the system of health as a whole”.

“We request the office of the governor to urgently address and act accordingly on the mentioned numerous pertinent concerns affecting the delivery of health care services in the Lamu department of health. We are tired of the conduct and behaviour of the Health CEC. He always intimidates, humiliates, victimizes and issues threats to us almost on a daily basis,” said Dr Farid.

Deputy-Governor Abdulhakim Aboud addressed the protesters.

Union of Kenya Civil Servants Lamu branch secretary Haji Shibu said uncontrolled reshuffles and uncoordinated transfers have led to confusion and affected service delivery.

TRANSFERS

“Within three months, some of the staff here have been transferred more than three to four times. This has affected the working of some of us. We are always made to work under new conditions and before you adapt to the new environment, the CEC comes and transfers you to yet another new place. That should stop,” said Mr Shibu.

Kenya National Union of Nurses (Knun) branch secretary Julius Njogu said members are working in extreme fear.

Mr Njogu demanded that their grievances be resolved in a week.

“If the county government won’t respond to] these issues within one week, then we are all going to boycott rendering the essential healthcare services in Lamu,” said Mr Njogu.

ADDRESS GRIEVANCES

Mr Aboud and County Government Chief of Staff Mohamed Bute Galgalo promised to ensure the health workers’ grievances are fully addressed.

“The governor is not around but we have received your petitions. We will ensure we submit all the grievances to the governor as soon as possible. We believe a solution will be found. I urge all of you to go back to work since your grievances have been taken with utmost consideration,” said Mr Aboud.

On January 29, health workers in the county took to the streets to protest claims by the security office that some facilities were aiding Al-Shabaab militants.

They also demanded the withdrawal of charges against two of their colleagues suspected to be secretly ferrying drugs to Al-Shabaab hideouts.