Striking casual workers at Pumwani Maternity Hospital can now breathe a sigh of relief after City Hall said they will get their outstanding salary arrears latest on Thursday.
Nairobi County Economic Planning Chief Officer Washington Makodingo said the county government on Monday asked for Sh8 million from the Controller of Budget to pay salary arrears dating back to November last year.
“We only received the request for the payment of the salaries late on Friday last week. However, we have made a request to the Controller of Budget to release at least Sh8 million and, as soon as it is approved, we will pay them,” said Mr Makodingo.
On Tuesday, the affected casuals and locum nurses -- nurses engaged on a contractual basis -- were on a go-slow.
In a letter dated February 20, 2020 Pumwani’s Deputy Chief Nursing Officer had written to the county over the salary arrears.
“It is now almost a month past the stipulated time; nothing is forthcoming and there is no sign of goodwill from the concerned offices. We hereby state that we shall stop offering our services from Friday [February] 21, 2020 at 4pm pending payment of full arrears,” read the letter.
The letter was addressed to Pumwani Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr Farhia Abdirahman Affi and the Hospital Secretary.
The nurses said their grievances have not been addressed by the facility despite holding a series of meetings with the hospital’s administration. They cited a memo that had been done by the hospital promising to pay them in two weeks.
In a letter dated January 31, 2020, County Chief Officer for Health Mohamed Sahal had asked the Medical Superintendent at the facility to extend the contract of 285 staff until February 28, 2020.
Mr Sahal indicated that only 67 workers have been affected. He promised to pay them this week.
Dr Makodingo explained that the arrears had accumulated due to National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) failure to reimburse the hospital free delivery fund which the facility relies on to pay casuals and locums.
“Pumwani does not charge for patients unlike our other hospitals and depends fully on free maternity reimbursement from NHIF which is Sh5,000 for every delivery. However, NHIF has been having some issues for some months now, forcing us now to chip in,” he said.