Nairobi medical officers down tools over delayed promotions
Nairobi County is staring at a serious health crisis after medical officers downed their tools yesterday.
Health workers have cited failure by the Nairobi Metropolitan Service (NMS) to address their grievances regarding promotions and re-designations.
Officials said despite their unions showing goodwill and compliance by suspending the strike to allow for talks, discussions have not been forthcoming.
“We have been played in the past several times; we will not be played again because we are no longer babies,” Secretary-General Kenya Union of Clinical Officers George Gibore.
Gibore said it was demoralising that the ministry has for years promised to effect the promotions in the various cadres only to backtrack later and employ delaying tactics.
As a result, some of their members have stagnated in the same job group for more than 15 years.
“The situation has become so bad that most of the discriminated professional head of departments within the Ministry of Health (MoH) are several job groups below their juniors in some counties who they are supposed to lead,” Gibore said.
Gibore noted that on May 4, the unions jointly issued a strike notice regarding the welfare of health workers on promotions and re-designations among other concerns.
As a result, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe initiated conciliatory meetings on May 18, with representatives of all employers in the public health sector, including the MoH.
On September 17, the workers signed a return to work agreement with NMS to end the strike that was paralysing the delivery of health services in Nairobi.
Among the agreements included timely payment of salaries by fifth of every month, a deal that the health workers alleged NMS had failed to honour.
The two parties also agreed that staff should start receiving promotion letters between September 25 and October 30. Health officers claim none of them has received any confirmation.
However, NMS says they have effected the promotions in variuos cadres. So far, NMS says 68 health care professionals, have received their promotion letters included laboratory technicians, nurses, mid wives and community health workers among others.
To date, NMS has promoted 108 health workers and it will continue with the promotions every month.
While addressing the medical staff who have benefited from the promotions at the NMS offices at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre, NMS Deputy Director-General Kangethe Thuku, said NMS would continue to address issues affecting the medical fraternity in the county for effective service delivery.
Some of the issues addressed at the meeting were payment of salary for nurses to be done before 30th every month, an issue that was still being worked on, and the statutory deductions that should be remitted to various Saccos.
Thuku said the county was not able to secure medical covers, which necessitated the previous covers to be extended for two months in June and July. Head of the Public Service had issued a directive that medical covers will not be secured with public funds.
“The limitation is by law that only one cover should be provided. The insurance regulatory authority was contacted for guidance,” he said.
Medics who sustain injuries in the course of duty will be covered by NMS.