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Kenyatta Hospital nurses go on strike amid cholera crisis

HEALTH WORKERS ON STRIKE. FILE PHOTO | NMG
HEALTH WORKERS ON STRIKE. FILE PHOTO | NMG  

Nurses at Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) have downed their tools in solidarity with their counterparts in county hospitals who have been on strike for 59 days now demanding for better pay and working conditions.

The nurses serving the largest referral facility in the country had earlier threatened to strike citing work overload.

The health workers, who are not in dispute with their employer - the Ministry of Health, say an overwhelming number of patients are flocking KNH from county facilities, which remain shut due to an ongoing strike.

The over 26,000 nurses employed by county governments across the country went on strike in June, citing a breach of their collective bargaining agreement (CBA) that is yet to be signed and registered in court.

While the counties said they could not afford the Sh40.3billion annual nurses demand, the nurses’ union leaders remain adamant saying they will not renegotiate the earlier agreed deal.

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Cholera outbreak

Their strike comes at a time when the country is experiencing a cholera outbreak, which the World Health Organisation (WHO) says poses a high risk to the region and a moderate threat globally.

KNH’s newborn unit is also under immense strain, owing to the ongoing nationwide nurses’ strike.

The absence of nurses, who tend to newborns in other public health facilities, has forced the pressure to pile at KNH with 165 babies now occupying a unit meant to hold at most 40 infants.

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