By Richard Muhambe
Clinical officers, among other health workers in Meru County, have staged a demonstration protesting over what they said was discrimination in payment of salaries.
The health workers paralyzed services in all the hospitals within the region on Tuesday, as they gathered at the Meru Teaching and Referral Hospital, before matching to the governor’s office where they presented a memorandum demanding for equity in payment of salaries among various job cadres.
They lamented that the Government had delayed in honouring a memorandum agreed upon by consensus that all health workers receive allowances as awarded to the nurses and doctors.
Led by Eastern region Kenya Union of Clinical Officers (KUCO) Secretary General, Moses Bajenia, the disillusioned health employees from 18 cadres vowed to conduct a series of demonstrations until they were paid all allowances due to them.
“Where is the teamwork when one cadre is listened to and not others? Health care is joint effort hence fair treatment should prevail across the cadres,” lamented the unionist.
Bajenia disclosed that the Government had come up with a proposal to pay them on Monday, but rescinded the move, thus forcing them into Tuesday’s demonstrations.
“We are telling the Health CS and his chief officers to explain why there is unequal treatment among the different cadres,” he appealed.
The unionist further alleged that there were juniors being paid more than their seniors in terms of professional qualification.
Bajenia argued that the discrimination was against the provisions of the 2010 Constitution hence the demand for their rights.
Apart from medical officers and nurses, other health workers such as lab technicians, pharmacists, social workers, cleaners and administrative assistants have downed their tools in protest over the unequal treatment.
They claimed that they kept health facilities running when doctors and nurses went on strike, and they expected the Government to award them the same allowances like it did to the nurses recently.
“We love our job and whatever we are demanding for is to be paid the allowances and then we resume duty like yesterday,” said Sammy Muchere, a Public Health Officer.