BY DAMA KALAMA
Mombasa nurses under the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) are set to withdraw health service delivery at public hospitals from December 15, 2020 should the County government continue to ignore their plight. This signals a no end in sight for the prolonged medics’ strike.
The situation which is likely to completely paralyse health service comes after Kenya National Union of Nurses Mombasa branch declared it will withdraw all its members, both UHC workers and those under contract.
The branch secretary Peter Maroko said that their main aim is to protect all its members and the best way we can do that is by withdrawing everybody working under poor conditions including risking their lives without personal protective equipment (PPEs) in isolation wards.
“Our intention is to make sure that those working are also taken care of, our members who are under contract do not have to sacrifice their lives just because they are working under contract, they are our members and this means we will be pulling them out until the county provides them with the right equipment to work with,” said Maroko.
The official expressed his disappointment that health workers have continued to be exposed and are dying while both the county and the national government don’t seem to care.
“We have heard leaders say that our members who contracted Covid-19 did not get it at the hospitals, how can they explain what will happen if you are nursing a Covid-19 patient without proper protective gear? We are getting sick and our people are dying,” he added.
He said that despite PPEs and Covid-19 risk allowance being among their grievances the county government has not even made an effort to provide those who have remained in the hospitals. The nurses are also demanding remittance of statutory deductions dating July this year.
“This is risking the lives of our nurses, we have made a decision of pulling out those employed under the universal health workers contracts out of the service as this is the only way we can protect our health workers,” he said.
He said that despite the County government having moved to court, they are still unshaken and they will not relent on their strike and not succumb to intimidation.
“We have received a hearing date set for tomorrow (Wednesday) asking us to appear in court as the county has sued us, we are not afraid we will go to court and present our arguments too,” he added.
This happens as Co-Operative Bank has written to the chief officer finance and planning Mombasa County a demand notice, citing delay in remittance of check-off personal loan payments for August, September and November 2020.
“We confirm that we have not received personal loan payments for your staff for the month of August, September and November 2020 resulting in accumulation of arrears noting you have already deducted these repayments from the individual employees’ salaries,“ read the letter.
Further the letter read that its purpose is to advise the county that the bank if they will not have remitted the said monies will demand payments from individual employees directly without further reference to the county, deduct any monies in the individual/personal accounts to settle the said arrear and list the employees under the credit reference Bureau.