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Nurses demonstrate outside governor Ragwa’s office over promotions and allowances 

Striking nurses in Tharaka Nithi demonstrate at Kathwana market and chant solidarity songs outside Governor Samuel Ragwa's office demanding nursing service allowances, promotions and remittance of HELB and NHIF statutory deductions on Tuesday March 14, 2017. Photo by Fred Muruja/KNA.

Striking nurses in Tharaka Nithi County on Tuesday held demonstrations at the governor’s office in Kathwana demanding nursing service allowances and promotions.

The over 350 health workers could not meet Governor Samuel Ragwa, who according to his secretary had left for another meeting some hours earlier but they later managed to present a memorandum to the County Assistant Secretary Ahmed Hemed.

Businesses at the market came to a standstill as the nurses chanted solidarity songs carrying placards along the Ishiara-Chiakariga road demanding that Mr. Ragwa vacates the office.

Kenya National Union of Nurses Tharaka Nithi branch chairman,  Fabian Marigu faulted the County Government of failing to issue personal numbers to some members adding that some of those that had been issued were not working.

Marigu said they would not resume duty until remittance of Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) and National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) deductions are made and allowances reflect on their pay slips. The official said they would not relent until their demands were met.

“We will remain in the streets until the county is ready to meet our demands,” said Marigu noting that nurses in other counties were already benefiting from the nursing service allowances.

Speaking to Kenya News Agency on phone, County Health Executive, Magdalene Njeru said the union leaders had refused to have negotiations with the county government on the remedy to the strike.

Ms Njeru said the National Government had not released the nursing service allowance funds causing a delay.

“We expected the funds last month but the National Government has not released them,” said Ms Njeru.

She accused them of being paid by local politicians to mobilize their members in paralyzing services in the public hospitals.

“Last month, we promoted 200 members who were eligible and have factored that on their pay slips,” she said.

The strike which entered its 41st day has forced patients in the County to seek services in neighbouring Embu and Meru Counties.

A spot-check by KNA established that only outpatient services were being offered in Chuka County Referral Hospital among other public hospitals in the county.

By  Fred  Muruja

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