NAIROBI, October 6 – Nurses will have to wait longer for their pay increases as the Treasury is yet to commit any funds for the review, the Medical Services Ministry said on Monday.
Assistant Minister Danson Mungatana said that the Ministry of Finance had only given them funds for nurses’ uniform allowances. The Sh10,000 package, he said would be released starting next month.
Mr Mungatana however came to the defence of the ministry saying: “The Treasury is not saying that they don’t want to give the money but were hampered by resource limitation. When things improve we will be able to take other steps forward. As a government we have to say that as our economy improves we will improve on all other terms.”
He stated that his ministry would continue negotiating with the Treasury and the Ministry of Public Service over the review and called on the nurses to remain patient. “We are hoping that with improved budgetary allocations we will be able to meet the other things they are raising because it is our business to help this profession do the best it can for our people. It is the nurses who touched us with their patience,” he said.
The nurses have for long engaged the government over their working conditions and the salaries. The health workers had threatened to down their tools in May but backed down when the government promised to look into their grievances. The government immediately agreed to give the uniform allowance but this had to wait for allocation from the Treasury. The nurses had also demanded a risk allowance.
Mr Mungatana spoke while announcing this year’s provincial nurses of the year who he said would each receive a scholarship worth 30,000 while the national hero to be announced on Wednesday would receive an additional 70,000 worth of funding. “The objective of the award is to recognise and reward nurses who have shown outstanding commitment and dedication on duty. The award encourages nurses to keep up to date with the latest nursing development, contribute to healthcare and strengthen response to the HIV/AIDS challenge,” he noted.
The award scheme was started in 1983 but has in the past been giving the winners cash awards. This year’s celebrations to be staged at Masinde Muliro University will also include the Silver Jubilee celebrations.
Irene Macharia was voted the best in Nairobi, Pricilla Nyaboke for Nyanza, Christine Amoite in Western Province and Margaret Muhia for Central. Mary Kenda emerged the winner in Coast, Violet Nyaga in the Rift Valley, Charles Otieno in North Eastern and Lena Mulewa for Eastern province.
The General Manager of Johnson and Johnson Lenny Kiamba, who are the sponsors, appreciated the sacrificial service of the health workers.
“We hope that the scholarships will help the nurses to pursue their own professional growth by selecting through the ministry institutions where they can get well trained so that they can upgrade their skills,” Mr Kiamba said.