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Health workers in Busia call off strike

Busia County Secretary for the Kenya Union of Clinical officers, Philemon Nakoche addressing the press in Busia town on Monday July 17, 2023.

Patients in Busia County are a happy lot after health workers called off their strike, which would have entered the third day Monday.

The decision by healthcare workers was arrived at after a meeting between the health workers Union leaders and the County health officials.

Speaking to the press county executive committee member (CECM) for Public Service and Gender Affairs Andrew Nakitari said that the two conflicting parties had been holed up in a series of meetings since Saturday.

“We have had a series of meetings since date fifteenth which has finally ended today after finding a solution,” said Nakitari.

He assured Busia county residents that the governor was very passionate about health and was carrying out a raft of reforms including policies and modernizing the facilities.

Busia County Kenya Union of Clinical Officers Secretary, Philemon Nakoche said that they have managed to engage in negotiations with the county government under the leadership of the CEC Member for Public Service.

“We are happy that the county government is committed to implementing the demands that we put in the strike notice and most of them have been discussed in the return to work agreement,” said Nakoche.

Among the grievances, he said the public service office has expressed commitment to ensure that salary arrears for the affected workers are paid.

“The medical commodities have already arrived at the county store and are ready for distribution,’’ he said adding that the facilities that were not operational like the theatre are being worked on and soon they will be functional.

The official assured the residents that the health workers would resume duty within 24 hours.

He said they however gave the County three months to ensure that all their grievances are addressed as promised failure to which they will down their tools again.

Beatrice Nakholi, the county executive committee member (CECM) for health also confirmed the strike has ended.

“As of tomorrow (today) we are going to distribute commodities to all public hospitals since they arrived last Friday at our store apart from a few like gloves that are expected to arrive by Friday,” said Nakholi.

She assured Busia County residents of quality healthcare services now that all the doctors and nurses have agreed to resume work.

On his part, Busia County Public Service Board Chairman Michael Onyura said that they have had a fruitful discussion and they have agreed on the five issues that were raised by the striking workers.

“We have different timelines on different issues and we are committed to implementing them and we would like to see the services resume as soon as possible,” said Onyura.

The health workers downed their tools on Friday, July 14 due to what they termed as a poor working environment, discrimination on promotion and salary arrears for a section of workers.