The state of Coronavirus patients at the Mt Elgon Isolation Centre in Kitale remains in limbo, after health workers at the facility downed tools today, demanding better working conditions.
Nurses, clinical officers and laboratory technicians have kept off their workstation after issuing a press statement at the Mt. Elgon Hospital.
The Kenya National Union of Nurses, Trans Nzoia branch Chairman Edward Cheruiyot, said that the rights of health workers have been grossly violated forcing them to call for a strike
“We have assembled here because of gross violation of health workers working rights at the Mt. Elgon Isolation Center and therefore all the services in the facility are going to remain paralysed until all the issues affecting our members are amicably resolved,” he said.
He expressed concern over lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) for health workers hence exposing them to Covid-19 virus while attending to patients.
“Our workers at the Mt. Elgon Isolation Centre unfortunately are exposed almost 100 percent because for the last two weeks an item such as Jik which is a basic antiseptic for cleaning surfaces has not been available,” he said.
He added that that the critical patients in the Isolation Center cannot access their basic needs while at the facility.
“Even our critical patients we take care of here are brought food by their relatives from home whereas the facility is categorized as a County Isolation Center, it’s a shame,” he noted.
The Trans nzoia Branch Secretary, Kenya Union of Nurses, Willy Sifuna, sited Article 41, Subsection 1 and II of the Constitution of Kenya.
“It is very pathetic what is happening in Trans Nzoia, Article 41 of the Constitution is clear that a person has the right to fair labour practices, but what is happening here is not fair labour practices,” he stated.
He said that health workers were not going to report back to work until their grievances are met.
“We as the Union have decided, we are not going back to work unless our grievances are going to be resolved,” he said.
Trans Nzoia County Workers Union Chairman, Samwel Kiboi, said that the workers working in the Isolation facility have the right to keep safe while protecting themselves and their loved ones from Covid-19 infection.
“The right of every worker in this facility is mandatory and therefore the County Government has to provide and cater for their safety while in their line of duty during this period of coronavirus,” he said.
He called on Cabinet Secretary (CS), Health, Mutahi Kagwe, to intervene in the case of the plight of health workers in Trans Nzoia County.
Human rights activist, Kepha Were, asked the anti-corruption body to take swift action against Trans Nzoia County department of Health on the questionable accountability of Covid-19 funds.
At least three Covid-19 positive patients are admitted in the facility while 40 health workers have downed their tools.
By Ngeywa Mosobin