Health services paralysed as workers strike in Kajiado

Monday, July 5th, 2021 11:31 |

Operations at the Kajiado County Referral Hospital remain paralyzed after the strike by casual workers at the facility entered its fourth day.

The workers downed their tools last Thursday, citing a five months of delay in payment of their salaries.

A spot check by KNA at the health facility over the weekend revealed that the wards had not been cleaned for the past four days with litter, dirty bedsheets and used bandages strewn all over the wards.

A strong stench emanated from the bins filled with litter and soiled pads at the maternity and children’s wards.

Patients inside the wards had been left to cater to themselves with most of them sleeping on uncovered hospital beds. They claimed that they had not been fed since last Wednesday and were depending on their relatives to bring them food from home.

 They also complained that there was no water for drinking or bathing at the facility and they had to depend on their caregivers to purchase water for them from outside.

Obadiah Makau, one of the patients admitted at the male ward, said the situation was dire as patients who do not have anyone to care for, were suffering.

 Makau said they had been forced to sleep in dirty wards since the worker’s downed their tools and they were at risk of contracting communicable diseases.

“We have patients here who have no one to attend to them. They have not eaten anything and are forced to sleep on soiled beddings as there is no one to change the sheets or clean the wards. The situation is getting out of hand now,” he said.

 Another patient who did not want to be named said apart from the unhygienic conditions at the hospital, drugs were also not available at the Hospital’s pharmacy and they were forced to purchase them at pharmacies outside at higher costs.

The casual workers downed their tools last week, claiming that the County Government had ignored their grievances, despite trying to reach out to them over delay in payment of their dues.

They said they have been working daily from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm without any pay for the past five months under unbearable conditions.

Josephine Naimantoi, one of the workers, said their children had been chased from school and were at home over non-payment of school fees and that their houses had been locked over rent arrears.

Naimantoi said she is struggling to even feed her kids and provide for their basic needs as she has not received any pay since February this year despite going to work daily.

Hafsa Simantoi, another casual worker, added that apart from salary delays, the workers are forced to work without Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), putting them at risk of contracting Covid-19 and other communicable diseases.

Kajiado Central Legislator, Elijah Memusi, who toured the Hospital, Sunday, confirmed the state of the facility, adding that the situation was dire and needed immediate attention.

Memusi said patients at the Hospital were suffering and had not been served any food for the past four days and were forced to sleep in dirty unhygienic wards since the strike commenced.

The MP said there were no drugs at the Hospital’s pharmacy and patients were forced to go buy drugs from private pharmacies.

“It is very unfortunate that the casual workers have not been paid for the past five months. These are workers with families, their houses have been locked over rent arrears and children sent home from school over school fees arrears,” said Memusi.

 He questioned why the workers had not been paid yet the National Government had recently released Sh 200billion to the counties with Kajiado County receiving over Sh.4.1 billion.

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