Council orders governors to replace striking nurses

Sunday September 10 2017

Kenya National Union of Nurses members protest in Kisumu

Kenya National Union of Nurses members protest in Kisumu on July 5, 2017. Governors have been ordered to replace those who have not yet resumed work. PHOTO | ONDARI OGEGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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The Council of Governors (CoG) wrote to the county bosses asking them to advertise positions held by any nurses in their regions who did not report for duty on Friday.

“Following a council meeting on August 31, it was resolved that all striking nurses should return to work by September 8, failing which county governments will issue ‘show cause letters’ to all striking nurses and advertise the positions to be filled competitively,” the letter says.

The letter, written by CoG chief executive officer Jacqueline Mogeni, orders governors to implement the resolutions arrived at during the meeting.


Among the jobs advertised are those of registered specialised nurses under Job Group J.

They include intensive care unit nurses, theatre nurses, paediatric nurses and renal nurses.

Other positions to be filled are those of registered nurses under Job Group H.

Successful candidates will be appointed on a one-year renewable contract subject to performance.


This comes even as a group of devoted nurses at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital in Kisumu went out of their way to ensure pregnant mothers are attended to.

The health workers have made local arrangements with the hospital to ensure any pregnant woman who visits the hospital is attended to.

When Ms Monica Akello left home in Kisumu County on August 15 around 2am, she did not know where she would give birth because all public hospitals were closed.

Ms Akello could not afford the prohibitive fees charged by private hospitals.


She and her husband visited five health institutions but they were turned away because there were no nurses on duty.

It is then that she decided to try her luck at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital.

To her pleasant surprise, she found the maternity wing open.

The nurse on duty admitted her immediately and ensured she delivered safely.

Many other expectant mothers she found in the maternity wing were also assisted.

“I was very lucky that I was attended to. I thank God for that. I have named my daughter ‘Hawi’, which means blessing,” Ms Akello said.


The nurse in charge, who sought anonymity for fear of infuriating her striking colleagues, said they had resolved to work in shifts to attend to expectant women.

“These are delicate people who are bringing forth lives. We are in this (strike) together with our colleagues but we have made a local arrangement with the hospital management to attend to pregnant women,” she said.

The nurses have vowed to defy the CoG order requiring them to resume work by last Friday.

“We are not going to relent on our call for the CBA (collective bargaining agreement) to be signed.

"We were quiet as we were waiting for the council to talk. Now that they have given us the go-ahead to continue with the strike, we are proceeding fully,” Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) secretary-general Seth Panyako said.