Tharaka-Nithi Governor Samuel Ragwa addresses the striking health workers when they demonstrated to his office in Kathwana on Monday June 15, 2015. They vowed not to return to work even after the delayed May salaries were paid and demanded the sacking of the county Health Executive officer.
Health workers in Tharaka-Nithi have refused to end their strike even after their delayed May salaries were paid.
They said they have other grievances they want the county government to address before they resume work, even as the boycott entered the second week.
The workers who protested outside the governor’s office in Kathwana also want Health executive Magdalene Njeru sacked after she allegedly accused them of stealing drugs.
“Other than full payment of salaries, we also want the government to remit pending National Hospital Insurance Fund and National Social Security Fund statutory deductions,” said Kenya National Union of Nurses branch secretary Kenneth Micheni.
“Health workers have been suffering penalties from the banks and insurance companies because of the failure by the county government to remit their money in time,” he added.
The nurses also want the county government to take responsibility for accrued interests on bank loans.
They are demanding that Governor Samuel Ragwa constitutes a task force to look into issues affecting them.
ACCUSED OF STEALING DRUGS
“The Health executive should also go because she is soiling our reputation by claiming we are stealing drugs.
“No amount of threats will intimidate health workers,” Mr Muchemi added.
However, Mr Ragwa maintained that the nurses must go back to work since their salaries had been paid.
“I will not entertain anyone out to continue with the strike after salaries were paid,” he said.
The governor said there was no reason to go on with the strike unless there were other reasons apart from the salaries issue.
“I have confirmed with all banks that everybody has been paid. I expect you to be back on your duties immediately,” said Mr Ragwa.
The governor blamed the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMIS) for the delay in paying salaries saying it takes time to process transactions.
“We received the money on June 8 but the IFMIS which is a new payment system messed us up,” explained Mr Ragwa.
“The county has made arrangements with banks to ensure all workers receive salaries on time,” he added.
Mr Ragwa urged the health workers to always consult with his office before going on strike so as to stop patients from suffering.
He also warned nurses who could be stealing drugs that the county government that they would be prosecuted once apprehended.
As the wrangles continue, all the hospitals in the county have been deserted and most patients transferred to hospitals in Embu and Meru counties.
(Obtained from Daily Nation online platform)