Kenya sacks 25 000 striking nurses

2012-03-09 10:38

Nairobi - Kenya's public hospitals face a potentially devastating health worker shortage after the government said on Thursday it had fired 25 000 striking nurses.

The nurses went on strike on March 01 to protest the government's failure to implement a salary increase agreed last year, when they also stopped work to press for improved services in Kenya's mostly ill-equipped public hospitals.

Government spokesperson Alfred Mutua said the country "can no longer sit and watch as Kenyans suffer in hospitals without medical attention because nurses and other medical staff are on strike".

"The names of the 25 000 nurses who are on strike have been removed from the pay roll," Mutua said. "They are no longer employees of the government."

No union official could be immediately reached for comment.

It was not immediately clear what proportion of the country's nurses had been fired, but if the job cuts are carried out, the African nation's public health system will be severely impacted.

The strike has already crippled public hospitals, with patients sometimes being sent home untreated. Kenyans who can afford it go to private clinics, which are for the most part operating normally.

Mutua said the country was looking to immediately replace those who had been fired.

"With the sacking of these nurses, we call on qualified practitioners out there to start applying for these jobs immediately to fill these gaps," he said. "The process of recruiting will be expedited."

Medical Services Minister Anyang Nyong'o had said on Wednesday that the nurses would be sacked if they failed to return to work.

"The same Constitution that gives [nurses] the rights to strike also gives every Kenyan born or unborn the right to life," he said.

  • rajeshsood - 2012-03-09 11:02

    Typical mentality. Kenyan Health Care is a shambles. Why should health care workers be paid poorly ? Do they really think they will find replacements for these nurses ?

      Bibi - 2012-03-09 12:26

      In sunny SA, it is the same. We after all live in Africa. However, I will without hesitation use the Aga Khan Training hospital. I will not go to any state hospital in SA. It is sad that here and SA, the most important civil servants get paid such low salaries e.g. teachers, SAPS and health workers.

  • bradleybrits - 2012-03-09 11:16

    How does a country like Kenya replace 25000 nurses? Its just not gonna happen.. Now the ball is in the nurses court to call the governments bluff if they can afford to be without salary a few more weeks..

      Ven.saDhammananda - 2012-03-11 08:05

      It just not going to happen.

  • Joseph - 2012-03-11 08:05

    The threat by Kenyan health authorities shows how power got into their heads. Those nurses have a right and whatever happens/happened to the patients, health department must take a full responsibility. We cannot affort the situation where our sisters and brothers are being treated as slaves by these fat cats. One fat cat is most probabably earning 10 times more than one nurse. Their abuse of power has come to an end. A threat to suck 25 000 nurses shows how short-sighted these fat cats are. One wonders why they are public servants!! How are they planning to replace these nurses? Are they saying that everybody in Kenya is a nurse? This is very unlikely. So effectively, the move is aimed (by the fat cats) at ensuring that extraordinary high number of patients in Kenya die. AU must intervene as this is a plan for a man slaughter by these fat cats.

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