Services delivery has been paralysed at eight dispensaries in Tharaka-Nithi County following the sacking of 96 nurses who had been employed on a one-year contract.
The affected dispensaries are Kathwana, Gaketha, Makanyanga, Gaceeraka, Njoguni, Matagatani, Iriuko ria Ngombe and Weru.
The Nation’s visit to Iriuko ria Ngombe Dispensary in Igambang’ombe established that since last week, it has been left without any health officer.
Its guard has been opening and closing the doors because there are no workers to offer services.
The Nation team visited six other health facilities and they were not offering services.
Kenya National Union of Nurses (Knun) Tharaka-Nithi branch chairman Fabian Marigu told the Nation that the sacking of the 96 nurses had affected services in hospitals too.
Majority of the hospitals, he said, had stopped offering most services during the night.
60 TO RETIRE
“We had earlier warned of a crisis in case the 96 nurses hired on contract were to be released upon expiry of their one-year contract,” said Mr Marigu.
He said most of the dispensaries, especially those built by former Governor Samuel Ragwa, had been left with only one nurse or clinical officer.
The county, he said, is now facing a shortage of 296 nurses, with the crisis set to deepen next year when some 60 caregivers are set to retire.
He called on Governor Muthomi Njuki to rescind his decision and bring back the nurses either on contract or on permanent terms.
The governor dismissed the contracted nurses, saying the move would save the county millions of shillings that would be used to build roads and finance other vital projects.
When contacted, Mr Njuki pledged to address the issue in a press conference to be held later today.
He has maintained that he is not ready to renew the contracts, which expired on April 20, because the department was already overstaffed and its wage bill bloated.
He said the nurses had been taking home approximately Sh7.6 million monthly, cash that could be used on development.
Tharaka-Nithi County Assembly health committee chairman Muthini Karangi has asked governor to bring back the fired nurses.