Lab officers threaten to down tools

Wednesday February 13 2019

Kenya National Union of Medical Laboratory

Kenya National Union of Medical Laboratory Chairman Adel Ottoman addressing the media in Nairobi on February 13, 2019. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

COLLINS OMULO
By COLLINS OMULO
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Medical laboratory officers has given the government twenty days to address their grievances or they also down their tools.

The officers have threatened to paralyse provision of blood transfusion in all hospitals in the country, make sure there is no laboratory diagnosis done to any patient and also ground services in all the health facilities countrywide, if their grievances are not addressed within the three weeks.

Kenya National Union of Medical Laboratory Officers (KNUMLO) officials, led by their chairman Mr Adel Ottoman, have complained of poor working conditions, pay disparity, lack of payment of allowances and recognition by the Ministry of Health.

STRIKE

“We have resolved to give the government 21 days to resolve these issues otherwise the union will have no option but to join the rest of health officers on strike countrywide. It seems that is the only language that the government understands,” said Mr Ottoman on Wednesday in Nairobi.

The officers also highlighted the lack of payment of bio-risk allowance despite dealing with infectious, toxic and carcinogenic agents and reagents.

There is also the issue of uniform allowance that forms part of Personal Protective Equipment that the officers want the government to look into.

Mr Ottoman said that their officers, who are degree holders, are employed in Job Group H like a P 1 teacher while the rest of health cadres including nurses and medical officers are employed at Job Group K yet they are required to join medical schools with higher entry grades.

“Lack of payment for our interns is also another issue. The rest of our fellow cadres in the Ministry of Health are paid and why not medical laboratory officials?” he posed.

He also complained of the officers being neglected during negotiations on health service delivery despite the union being made up of over 25, 000 officers besides poor representation of the officers in various health facilities where close to all dispensaries and health centres have no medical laboratory officers.

“There is biting shortage because of unemployment where for every 30 nurses employed only one medical laboratory officer is considered for employment,” he said.

The Union’s Secretary General Enock Wanyonyi accused the Council of Governors of playing tricks with the union alleging that the council have been selective and discriminatory in dealing with them.

Mr Wanyonyi said that CoG have been telling them to sign recognition agreements with their respective counties instead of the Council itself as it has done with other health workers.