Hospital deserted as strike bites, patients sent home

By: LINET WAFUL

Busia County Referral Hospital workers are on strike for the fifth day. The beds were empty and wards deserted since the strike started on Monday.

Two patients, who had been admitted to the hospital, were the last to leave Friday.

On Thursday, three patients, who included a mother and her daughter, died in what health officials said was lack of treatment.

County Director of Medical Services, Ms Mellisa Lutomia, Friday said services in six other hospitals in the county were also paralysed and all patients sent home.

“We are grounded. Some residents have opted to admit their patients in private hospitals,” she said.

Before going on strike, the health workers complained of delays in payment of salaries, lack of promotions and failure to implement the Akichelesit report (on paralysis of children) as well as inadequate supply of drugs.

Through their union chairman, Mr Isaiah Omondi, the workers said they would not resume work until their demands are met.

Mr Omondi said 237 of the health workers are yet to be promoted.

“We are not mad to wake up and go on strike. Most of our members have been blacklisted, others surcharged because of non-remittance of statutory deductions yet these are being deducted from our payslips,” he said.

Speaking to Saturday Nation Friday, Ms Lutomia asked the striking workers to resume work and dialogue to resolve the impasse.

She said the county had already promoted at least 88 staff and they will be given letters on Monday.

“On the statutory deduction that were not remitted, we realised the money went to suspense account and we are following it up,” she said.

SOURCE: DAILY NATION