New hope as nurses set to meet Labour CS

Jan, 6th 2021 – Nurses are set to meet with Labour CS Simon Chelugui today for the last round of consolatory talks on the return-to-work deal. The talks which started on Monday continued yesterday, at the CS’s office to try and end the strike, that began on the 7th of December.

Kenya union of nurses secretary General Seth Panyako says, he is optimistic a deal will be reached by the government. They are demanding among other things, provision of quality and standard PPE’s, comprehensive medical cover, risk allowance, hiring more healthcare workers and dedicated health facilities in each county, for those who contract covid-19 while on duty.

So far, 34 have died in the line of duty hence paralysis in hospitals as nurses comprise of 80 percent in the healthcare system.

Clinical officers and doctors called off their strike on the 1st of January 2021 and the 24th of December 2021.

Panyako said, “The nurses are the hospitals; the nurses are the healthcare system. We are the central nervous system of the hospital and there is no hospital that can function when the central nervous system has broken down.”

He however said that he was optimistic that a lasting solution will be found before the end of the week.

He said, “We will be drafting our minimal demands and giving them to the Ministry of Labour. If they will be in agreement with us, then we are prepared to sign them immediately.”

The Union has also threatened to withdraw their services from the two major Referral hospitals in the country that is Kenyatta National Hospital and the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital from Thursday if the talks fail to yield fruit.

Panyako said, “We have looked at the steps so far taken and we give them [government] an extension of three days because the impact of the industrial action is being felt.”

He added that nurses will not resume work until the government produces evidence on medical covers by each county. He added that only nurses in those counties that have met their demands will resume duty.

He said, “We want to be told those nurses who have died when the medical cover is not in place, what happens to them? What about those nurses who are admitted in hospital, they have died and we have contributed to pay their medical bills? We want those monies we have paid in those hospitals to be refunded and given to the families left behind.”

The Union has however agreed to lower the amount of risk allowance from sh30,000 to sh20,000.

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