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Health crisis worsens as lab technicians join striking medics

By , People Daily Digital
Wednesday, January 13th, 2021 00:00 | 2 mins read
Doctors strike.

Health crisis in Mombasa has escalated after Kenya National Union of Medical Laboratories Officers (KNUMLO) downed their tools yesterday.

They join their clinical counterparts and nurses whose strike entered week nine.

Speaking during a media briefing outside the Coast General Teaching and Referral Hospital, KNUMLO Mombasa chapter Secretary General Moses Maingi, said they are contemplating withdrawing from collection of Covid-19 samples in solidarity with striking medics.

Situation is likely to compromise the war on Covid-19 as the over 171 laboratory officers will now stop Covid-19 testing to compel the county government to resolve the impending healthcare matters.

“We are going to stop testing Covid-19 until all our issues are addressed. We had not stopped it because it is a critical section, but because the National and County Government have ignored our plight, we have no option than withdrawing the services,” Maingi said.

In Mombasa, at least 680 permanent and pensionable nurses and 168 clinical officers are on strike, demanding an  up-to-date remittance of statutory deductions by the Mombasa County government.

According to Kenya Union of Clinical Officers (KUCO) Mombasa branch secretary Frankline Makanga, the clinical officers will not succumb to any form of intimidation by their employer, which has resulted in issuing threats and firing those who remain defiant.

Public interest

“We are not going to bow to any intimidation from the county. If they do not listen to our plight then we have no other business with them. Let them pay statutory deductions and we will be back to work,” Makanga said.

He said clinical officers will not be reporting to work until their demands, among them salary delays; remittance of statutory deductions and the provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) is addressed.

Kenya National Union of Nurses Mombasa chapter secretary Peter Maroko, faulted Governor Hassan Joho for employing orthodox means to address nurses’ matters instead of coming to table to address the stalemate.

“They have resorted to sacking our colleagues so that we can get intimidated.

For your information, we are demanding that they be reinstated and all other demands be addressed so that we can go back to work,” Maroko added.  

Situation is so dire that patients have been forced to seek services at expensive private facilities while others have opted to nurse their sick patients at home.

Affected facilities include Portreiz Hospital in Changamwea and  Tudor-Sub-County Hospital among others.