Nurses issue strike threat

A nurses’ union has threatened to call for an indefinite strike of all health workers in Nyamira if the County Government does not urgently recruit more staff to alleviate understaffing in all health facilities in the area.

The warning comes even after the devolved unit handed over appointment letters to over 100 health staff who were employed recently.

Among the 150 appointees , 60 are nurses, 10 clinical officers while the rest are widespread across the various health disciplines including administrators.

The Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN), Nyamira county branch secretary, Richard Oruta said healthcare workers were being overworked because of their few numbers compared to the number of patients they have to attend to as well as the maximum number of man hours they are entitled to.

According to Mr. Oruta, quality delivery of healthcare services was being compromised due to poor human resource distribution in all the healthcare facilities.

He said nurses were overworked because in some situations, they would double up their work when they are supposed to go out of their way to carry out clerical duties as well as other menial jobs that should be done by either clinical officers or support staff.

“It is a matter of serious concern that most of our members are overworked and yet their terms of employment are not well defined to suit the working conditions.

He said the union would like to put the county government on notice that failure to employ enough personnel will compel them to go for industrial action”, said Oruta.

But addressing the just-employed staff on Sunday , Governor John Nyagarama promised to address the issue of staffing as quickly as possible so as to ease the workload on the few staff whom he thanked for doing their best in helping residents through effective service delivery.

The governor noted that as much as the medical staff were expected to remain committed to their work, the sector faced a myriad of challenges due to understaffing.

“That is why, through our other partners, we are considering offering about 150 more jobs to qualified medics as a way of bridging the staffing gap”, promised Mr Nyagarama.

By Erick Ongeri