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Nurses and clinical officers threaten to go on strike



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Public hospitals could be thrown into turmoil next month after nurses and clinical officers threatened to go on strike to push for better working conditions and higher pay.

Nurses issued a notice to the Health Cabinet Secretary, governors and the Salaries Remuneration Commission, saying they will down their tools from December 10 until an agreement reached after a five-month strike last year is implemented to the full.

The clinical officers, on the other hand, said they will boycott work in two weeks to push the National Hospital Insurance Fund to recognise their prescription for procedures such as CT scans and X-rays.

In a letter to the NHIF, the Kenya Union of Clinical Officers (Kuco) says it is dissatisfied with the insurer’s refusal to recognise their work.

Their secretary general George Gibore said they will not accept the demand that they register with the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board. The NHIF bars the them from sending their patients for imaging and has set limits for pre-authorisation of procedures such as cataract surgery and caesarean section.

“The union has unanimously resolved to demand that the NHIF offers a written undertaking to accredit facilities registered by the Clinical Officers’ Council as directed by the Ministry of Health and be allowed to practice and serve NHIF accredited patients as per the scope of their training, qualification and scope of service,” said Mr Gibore in the strike notice.

The nurses said an agreement on November 2, last year between the union, the national government and counties provides for a nursing services allowance which was to be implemented in phases over a three-year period. The uniform allowance was also increased by Sh5,000 per year effective July, 2018.

“You will recall that we have made several attempts by way of correspondences to your offices including requesting a meeting to discuss and ensure the same is implemented, but to this date nothing tangible has been forthcoming,” said Mr Seth Panyako, the Kenya National Union of Nurses secretary general in the November 19 notice.

Reports by Abiud Oçhieng’, Elizabeth Merab and Aggrey Omboki