Busia governor sacks striking health workers

By: LINET WAFULA

The Busia County Government has sacked over 1,000 health workers who have been on strike since Monday last week.

Governor Sospeter Ojaamong’ said his administration was now seeking the services of military personnel and faith-based organisations to offer medical services to patients as an emergency measure.

Mr Ojaamong’ said patients who seek emergency services will be ferried to nearby hospitals in neighbouring counties as the county government hires new staff.

He urged retired health workers and other qualified individuals seeking jobs to visit the chief officer for appointment and deployment to the stations in the county.

“The health sector was allocated over Sh1 billion. Sadly, it is offering poor services. We now want to start on a clean slate by recruiting new staff,” Mr Ojaamong’ told journalists in Busia on Sunday.

OJAAMONG’S ACCUSATIONS

This was after he attended a meeting with members of the executive board.

Mr Ojaamong’ accused the workers of absenteeism and theft of drugs at hospitals.

He said most of the drugs were not being accounted for by the health management teams.

He said despite increasing the budget for drugs from Sh120 million to Sh350 million, the health sector was still underperforming.

“We are telling our brothers and sisters to go to their comfort zones. They have invited trouble for themselves,” said Mr Ojaamong’.

The governor said the county will liaise with the county commissioner to ensure security is provided at all the health centres as the new staff take over the provision of medical services in the region.

ALLEGED POOR COUNTY MANAGEMENT

Services at public hospitals have been paralysed due to the job boycott.

The worst hit have been the Busia County Referral Hospital and Alupe Hospital, which cater for both national and foreign patients.

Empty beds are an indication of the sad state of affairs at the usually busy hospitals.

The strike started after talks between county officials and health staff failed to yield results.

It caused the death of three people, including a mother and a child.

They died at the Busia County Referral Hospital after they failed to get treatment.

The Kenya National Union of Nurses, and the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union asked their members to boycott work until their grievances were addressed.

The health workers complained of delays in payment of salaries, lack of promotions and the shortage of drugs.

SOURCE: DAILY NATION