Nairobi County Governor Candidate Johnson Sakaja has pledged to absorb the 1,600 medical staff members employed on contract by NMS into the leadership of his administration.
Speaking after meeting government healthcare workers in Nairobi today, Sakaja pledged to properly fund health facilities so that they do not run out of commodities.
According to Sakaja health workers in Nairobi are currently paid and treated poorly despite their sacrifices.
“The sacrifices of health workers is not appreciated enough. You put in so much and receive so little. Health is the most important devolved function and no governor should put health in the periphery,” Sakaja said.
The Nairobi Health workers led by Kenya Union of Nurses Nairobi Branch Secretary Boaz Onchari had urged Sakaja to look into the employment of the NMS health workers once he gets into office.
“Many of the health facilities in Nairobi, including all the new ones that were recently launched are neither staffed nor operational. They were launched at night but the real picture is that they are not serving the public,” said Onchari.
The officials also urged him to look into the promotions that had not been done in many years.
“Our sector has had the most strikes because our issues have not been addressed. Many staff employed in the year 2010 have been on probation for 12 years. Are they supposed to spend their whole working life on probation where they can’t even get a loan with a payslip that shows they are not permanent employees?” Onchari said.
“We were shocked that this monster called NMS in the last financial year returned KSh538 million that had been set aside for promotion of staff,” he said.
The Clinical Workers Union Nairobi branch Secretary Tom Nyagaka called for formation of a work council where the county government and union officials sit regularly to iron out labour relation issues, to forestall strikes.
“Most of the strikes mostly arise due to misunderstandings. We are just interested in order and dignity of our members. We have good policies and all we are asking for is for the policies to be implemented,” Nyakaba said.
The medical officers protested that only doctors are promoted to the responsibility to running hospitals yet lower cadre employees like nurses and clinical officers can also do the job.
“This has been a long running discrimination. There is no need to take a surgeon from theatre and make them medical superintendents to do admin work when theatre is where they are needed most. Qualified staff from the other cadres should be given such opportunities as well,” Nyakaba said.
Peterson Wachira, the Chairman of the Kenya Union of Clinical Officers said they will push for a deliberate plan on annual employment of health workers.
“Why do we employ security officers every year, teachers every year and other professionals but not health workers? We need a policy that ensures continued recruitment of health professionals every year,” Wachira said.