Malala urges government to negotiate with health workers to avert strike

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Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala
Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala. File photo.

Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala has urged the national government to move with speed and negotiate with health workers and provide them with the necessities they need. Health workers in their respective unions have threatened to go on strike on December 7th. “When 7th reaches and they go on strike, they’ll really strain us,” he said, adding that hospitals will be forced to close as a result, “Closing health facilities in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic will be tough.”

Malala further urged the Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) Secretary General Seth Panyako to loosen their stance and call off the strike. KNUN issued a 14-day strike notice which expires on 6th December, same with the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU). KNUN secretary general Seth Panyako said several attempts to reach out to the County and national governments to address their grievances have failed.

The nurses want among other things payment of a risk allowance, confirmation of contract nurses to permanent and pensionable terms and provision of adequate and standard PPEs. KMPDU demands include provision of medical cover by NHIF for all doctors, employment of at least 2,000 doctors on permanent and pensionable terms, enhancement of the risk allowance, provision of adequate and standard personal protective equipment, conversion of all contractual employment terms to permanent and pensionable among others.