Health workers in Homa Bay County have petitioned the county government to honour an agreement they signed ahead of the 2022 general election.
The medical practitioners claimed Governor Wanga’s administration has not honoured some of the issues they agreed on ahead of last year’s elections.
The medics made the demands through their unions led by the Secretary of the Kenya National Union of Medical Laboratory Officers (KNUMLO) Joseph Opondo and Kenya National Union of Nurses Emadick Otieno.
Opondo said they had agreed with the Wanga administration to ensure timely disbursement of salaries, promotion to health workers, timely remittance of statutory deductions and adequate supply of pharmaceuticals to hospitals was also part of the deal.
Speaking to the press, the officials claimed some issues are yet to be addressed one year after Governor Wanga was sworn into office.
Opondo threatened that the unions would mobilize their members to embark on industrial action should the county government fail to address the issues in two weeks.
“We are giving the Department of Health a two-week strike notice to address our grievances,” Opondo said.
He said the medics had signed a health charter that salaries should be paid by 5th of every month. The medics however said they have witnessed delayed salary payments for the last six months.
Speaking to the press in Homa Bay town Tuesday, the unionists said they have not been receiving communication from the county government officials in charge of health.
“Delayed payment of salaries is experienced by health workers with no explanation from the health department. They cause a lot of inconvenience to medics,” he said.
They also accused the county government of failing to remit some statutory deductions.
Ouko accused the county government of failing to promote employees who have stayed in one job group for years.
The unionists also asked for the provision of comprehensive health insurance coverage.
“It is unfortunate that we manage disease but some of us cannot be treated when they are sick. Most of us spend our money to go to the hospital when the bills should be paid by an insurance company,” Ouko said.
Otieno said attempts to seek an audience with the county government to address the problems have not been successful.
The workers want to know why some of them had their salaries withheld during a staff audit.
“The information we get is that their files are missing, yet some produced copies of documents which they used for employment.
The human resource staff must up their game,” Otieno said.
However, Homa Bay Health Chief Officer Kevin Osuri said the problem of delayed salary payments is due to the delayed disbursement of funds from the national government.
“Remittance of funds from the National Treasury is a problem to many counties. But we have been sourcing for funds using other means to pay workers,” Osuri said.
Osuri said they are still looking at a staff audit report that recently unearthed irregularities.
The county government will handle issues of promotion after full implementation of the audit report.
“The county government plans to meet medics to iron out issues affecting them,” Osuri said.
By Davis Langat