Health workers at Murang’a Level-5 hospital on Wednesday protested delayed salaries for two months threatening to ground all operations in the busy health facility.
The workers who marched to the offices of the county government decried suffering occasioned by lack of payment and poor working conditions accusing the county administration for failing to address their predicaments.
Led by their union officials, the workers gave an ultimatum till Monday next week saying if not paid by then, they will start reporting at the county offices.
“We will abandon our work at the hospital and start reporting at the governor’s offices till we get paid,” said one of the nurses’ union officials, Lucy Wambui. Wambui expressed concerns after they found no senior county government official who could address their issues.
“There was no one to listen to our grievances. It seems people in these offices stopped working a long time ago and also us as health workers will abandon our duties,” she added.
Apart from the salary, the official said their statutory deductions are not remitted thus subjecting the workers to more pain.
“Our deductions to NHIF, banks, Saccos have not been remitted for more than six months and its unfortunate since we have been denied services by various organizations,” decried Wambui.
On his part, Dr. William Muriuki said it’s unfortunate for the county government to be struggling to pay its workers.
He observed that apart from the salaries, the workers are forced to work in an unconducive environment as health facilities lack crucial supplies.
“Patients are suffering since at the hospitals there are no drugs. We lack crucial equipment needed to protect as we carry out our work,” he stated.
He continued, “It is not our first time to demonstrate and I wonder when this problem will be sorted out. Lack of payment has become chronical problem with Murang’a county administration. Health care needs to be given priority.”
Samuel Wangai representing Kenya clinical officers reiterated that health workers in the county have been taken for granted for many years saying from July 4, they will ground operations at the county referral hospital till their problems are adequately solved.
“The challenges we are facing are many. We can’t compare ourselves with workers in other counties. On Monday no work will be done at the county hospitals till the administration addresses our predicaments,” added Wangai.
At the health facility it was established patients are forced to buy prescribed drugs and other necessities needed for treatment at private chemists.