Tharaka-Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki has appealed to health workers in his county to shelve the planned strike and give him time to address their grievances.
Kenya National Union of Nurses (Knun), Kenya National Union of Medical Laboratory Officers and Kenya National Union of Clinical Officers (Kuco) have threatened to paralyse services in all health facilities in the county by October 28 if the employer does not enroll them in a pension scheme and give them promotions.
They also want the enhanced National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) cover and payment of salary arrears, some dating back to September 2017.
Speaking in Maara Constituency Monday, Governor Njuki said he has engaged the leadership of the workers’ unions and promised to meet their demands progressively.
COMMITTED TO DIALOGUE
Refuting Knun General Secretary Seth Panyako’s assertion that the county government has demonstrated insincerity and lack of seriousness in implementing of past agreements, the county boss said he has addressed most of the grievances that he found when he took over from the previous leadership.
“In the department of Health I found arrears totalling to Sh200 million inclusive of unpaid salaries and unremitted statutory deductions and by last week the only balance that had not been paid was Sh8 million and there are plans to clear it,” said Mr Njuki.
He urged the health workers to support the tremendous changes that have been made in the sector by serving the people wholeheartedly and embracing dialogue when there are issues to be addressed and not punishing the locals by paralysing the critical services.
Mr Njuki asked residents to have confidence in the services offered in dispensaries and health centers to avoid the overcrowding witnessed in the main hospitals.
He assured residents of qualified health workers and enough drugs at the dispensaries in every village and advised them to only travel to the main hospitals should they need specialised treatment.
“Patients are overcrowding in Chuka County Referral Hospital, Marimanti Sub-County Hospital and Magutuni Sub-County Hospital while the dispensaries are empty,” he said.
He noted that his administration is working on operationalising more health facilities that have been under construction and will soon recruit laboratory technicians to ensure no patient is treated without having necessary tests done.
He assured residents that health, which was a key agenda during his campaigns, is still a priority and that he will make sure that by 2022, he will have streamlined the sector.