Nurses in Mandera County have resumed emergency services after reaching a deal with the county government.
Emergency services like obstetric, emergency cesarean section, ante-mortem hemorrhage and road traffic accidents have been reopened in all the public health facilities.
A spot check by AfyaSmile Kenya at Mandera County Referral Hospital shows that most patients with critical conditions were being treated.
Mr Mohamednur Maalim, Kenya National Union of Nurses (Knun) Secretary General Mandera County branch, confirmed that nurses have resumed work and urged the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) to implement the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
“Nurses at the county level resumed duties to perform some of the critical services at the public facilities and sub county hospitals.
And this decision was reached courtesy of unique nature of the county with limited private facilities, outbreak of malaria, high level of poverty, compounding drought and terror menace.,” he said in an interview.
He added that other services will also resume once the CBA is signed and implemented.
The national nurses’ strike now on the fourth month has paralysed operation in public health facilities countrywide.
Nursing officer in charge of Mandera County Referral Hospital says that most of the emergency services at the hospital has been resumed and the facility is receiving more referrals from affiliate sub county hospitals.
At the hospital, over 40 normal deliveries, five emergency cesarean sections and other non-maternity referrals have been attended to since the nurses resumed.
As part of the agreement, the county government released the withheld salaries for three months.
In another development, the employment and labour relation court has stopped Mandera County Public Service Board from employing new nurses after the county advertised for nurses last month on contractual basis.
As per the court order, Mr. Maalim says, the county cannot do any advertisement, interview or appointment of new nurses during the strike period.
To end the health crisis, Mandera County governor is willing to lobby the council of governors to sign and implement the CBA after the approval of SRC.
The resumption of nurses is a sigh of relief for many county residents, especially at the referral hospital, where patients with critical cases are referred from other facilities.
Mohamed Godana, 78, who underwent operation at the county referral hospital, was referred from Banisa sub county hospital. He said after much suffering, he feels better.
Another patient with similar ordeal was transferred from El Wak sub county hospital. Fatuma Kulow, resident of Wargadudu, maintains more suffering will be reduce owing to the fact that nurses have since reported back to work.
She urges the county health department and national government to smoothen service delivery and prevent similar strike by the health workers.
The strike was as a result of the Council of Governors and ministry of health reneging on an earlier agreement which was signed in December 14, 2016. The CBA was to be negotiated and concluded not later than March 2, 2017.
Council of governors, at the end of May, reported rejection of the CBA by the SRC which set stage for the strike.