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Time to end nurses’ strike

Wednesday August 16 2017

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Long before Kenyans went to the polls, nurses had been on strike for weeks in pursuit of higher pay.

Election campaigns and voting dimmed the boycott but the impact continued to be felt.

In fact, the gravity was felt last week when riots broke out after the elections and many injured people were taken to public hospitals only to find a dysfunctional health care system.

At the centre of the standoff is failure to implement a collective bargaining agreement between the nurses’ union and their employers – national and county governments – but which has been vetoed by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) on the grounds that the figures are not sustainable.

But the Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) will not settle for anything less.



The strike must be examined within the broad context of health care management, which is under serious threat.

Health care is relatively underfunded and its devolution to the counties created policy and administrative challenges.

After four years of experimentation, it has transpired that the counties may be well-poised to handle medical infrastructure, but ill-equipped to deal with human resource and policy matters.

Elections are over and the SRC, national and county governments cannot continue to bury their heads in the sand.

They must resolve the impasse so that nurses can go back to work.