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Nurses in Taita-Taveta to remain on strike, demand allowances be paid first

Wednesday December 28 2016
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Taita-Taveta County health executive Gifton Mkaya presents his submissions at the county assembly chambers in Wundanyi on December 23, 2016 during talks aimed at ending a strike by nurses. The talks collapsed on December 27, 2016, with the nurses vowing to remain on strike. PHOTO | LUCY MKANYIKA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By LUCY MKANYIKA

Talks between Taita-Taveta nurses, health services officials and the county assembly have collapsed after the health workers’ union on Tuesday refused to end the strike.

Last week, the county assembly formed an ad hoc committee which was tasked with ending the strike.

The county union officials led by secretary Boniface Mrashui agreed to the resolutions made by the county assembly but later refused to end the stalemate until all their allowances are paid.

Mr Mrashui said they will not bow to pressure to resume work.

He accused the county government for failing to honour previous agreements.

“We have been signing deals with the county government since 2013 and none of them has been honoured. This time we will be very careful,” he said.

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He said health officials had admitted they had disbursed over Sh3 million for overtime allowances but the money has not been remitted to their accounts.

AD HOC COMMITTEE

“If there is money why are they not paying us? We also want to go to work because our people are suffering,” he said.

County assembly ad hoc committee chairperson, Aresmus Mwarabu, said the committee had started a fact-finding tour in all sub-county hospitals.

He said they would table a report in the county assembly as early as possible in a bid to end the strike which has left residents to seek treatment in private hospitals within and outside the county.

“We are touring Moi County Referral Hospital in Voi, Taveta and Mwatate hospitals to see the real picture. We will talk to the nurses and other stakeholders for their views,” he said.

At the same time, residents have criticised the county government accusing it of lack of commitment to resolve the impasse.

A Voi resident, Nelson Mliwa, told the Nation that his wife almost lost her life while giving birth in a private hospital in Voi Town.

“Her situation became worse and we were forced to rush her to Mombasa,” he said.

He said he was forced to pay over Sh100 000 for a caesarean section at a private hospital in Mombasa.

“The government should commit to resolve this stalemate. People are losing lives because of lack of cheap services at public health facilities,” he said.

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