, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 18 – The Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution has condemned threats by Governors to sack striking health workers.
CIC chairman Charles Nyachae explained that the Governors would contravene the Constitution if they dismiss the workers as it protects their rights.
“No course of action including dismissal or appointments should be undertaken without respect of the individual employee, recognition of terms of service as provided for in the Constitution,” he said.
Nyachae added that the current wrangles between the government and the health workers have been lingering and devolution ought not to be used as an excuse.
He said the workers need not to be on strike and should instead give dialogue a chance.
“We cannot blame devolution because of the current problems and disparities as they have been there under a centralised system of government for the last 50 years.”
“It was agreed that there should be a phase transfer of these services therefore it will be unfair to blame the current stalemate on devolution,” added Nyachae.
The Governors had threatened to sack the striking health workers without pay, a move that health workers’ officials dismissed saying that they will not be deterred.
The week-long strike by health workers has led to devastating effects in the country, with eight mothers having lost their babies after being turned away from public hospitals.
Kenyatta National Hospital Chief Executive Officer Simeon Monda said they received eight mothers turned away from Pumwani, Mama Lucy and Mbagathi District Hospital which remain closed.
The Senior Nursing Officer in-charge of the labour ward at KHN, Grace Wangombe, says the hospital is currently catering for over 100 women as opposed to the 30 they usually handle.
“The number of patients in the labour ward is overwhelming due to the ongoing national strike by the health workers.”
“In normal circumstances we admit 30 mothers in a day and now we are dealing with almost 100 percent increase in the numbers.”
“We remain calm and we are giving priority to the mothers that are coming in dire need of help,” explained Wangombe.
KNH Chief Executive Officer Simeon Monda warned that the situation could get worse should the public health workers’ strike fail to come to an expedient end.
“Since the strike started, we have received eight mothers who have arrived at KNH when their babies have already died in the womb. An unfortunate loss of life that could have been averted had they not been turned away from the public health facilities that were closest to them.”
“There are never any queues in the labour ward because how can you wait when it’s time for the baby to come out, but just look at this,” KNH Communication Manager Simon Ithae said as he pointed to about a dozen women in labour seated on benches along the corridors of the labour ward.