NAIROBI, Kenya Apr 28 – The Kenya Union of Nurses on Monday demanded the immediate arrest of a police officer and a chief in Vihiga and Bungoma counties who allegedly assaulted health workers.
According to the union’s Secretary General Seth Panyako, the two beat up female nurses on duty whilst seeking treatment.
“A nurse at the Benja Health Centre in Vihiga County was attacked by a police officer who had brought in a sick child demanding for treatment.”
“The second incident involved another female nurse who was attacked at the Bungoma District Hospital by a chief and was it not for the intervention of the other patients and police who were called by the people around, the nurse would have died.”
“Both incidents were reported to the police who did nothing despite the fact that the victims had P3 forms in their possessions and medical records to show as evidence.”
“The police instead told them that they need instructions from the Inspector General before they can take any action against the two law enforcers.”
“The incident at the Bungoma District Hospital reveals the clear staff shortage because the nurse was the only health worker on duty. How do we expect one person to manage all these patients efficiently?” Panyako asked.
He vowed that if action is not taken on the two they will recall nurses stationed in different hospitals and health centers in the two counties.
“We want to make it clear to the Inspector General (of Police) David Kimaiyo and the Ministry of Health that if action is not taken in the next 48 hours on the two perpetrators then we will recall all the nurses in the two counties.”
“Be sure that we will not return the nurses until they provide security to protect our staff. They also have rights like any other person in any profession,” the Secretary General explained.
Speaking to the press, Panyako further asked for the immediate deployment of nurses who have concluded their training, warning that next week they will camp at the ministry offices until they are deployed.
“Further, we have hundreds of nurses that have concluded their studies and graduated. They are still yet to be posted to their work stations to start their post internship course.”
“The ministry has refused to deploy the new nurses yet we are faced with a very big crisis of nurse shortage,” he added.
He also decried conditions in some counties saying that some nurses are faced with harsh conditions in their line of duty.
“Some nurses at the county level do not have uniforms or medical apparatus which means some of them have to dig into their pockets to buy some of the amenities.”
“These conditions expose them to all sorts of risks which in turn also exposes the patients to further infection or new infections as they seek treatment,” he said.
As he concluded, Panyako asked the government to recall their promise of allocating 15 percent of funds to health care as they roll out the next budget in June.