Six patients have been confirmed dead at the Coast General Hospital as the nationwide nurses strike entered its second day on Tuesday. Mombasa Health Chief Officer Khadija Shikely, confirming the fatalities, revealed that three patients died at the emergency section while the rest passed away in the hospital wards.
Shikely said that the hospital was assessing the situation although media reports indicate that the facility was already discharging patients in a number of wards.
This comes even as confusion took center stage among Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) members with union officials differing on the validity of the strike.
According to Embattled union chairperson John Bii the strike was not legally protected, but the acting KNUN Chairperson Joseph Ngwasi dismissed Bii’s claims, adding that he had no authority to speak on behalf of the Union.
“The chairperson of the union if Joseph Ngwasi who is on an acting capacity until that decision is ratified by the National Governing Council of the Union,” he said.
“John Bii was the Chairperson of KNUN therefore he cannot purport to be speaking on behalf of the nurses because he is not in touch with the nurses themselves.”
The nurses are demanding the implementation of the 2017-2021 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) which the Council of Governors’ Chairperson Josphat Nanok has dismissed saying that it would cost Sh40.3 billion to implement it.
But Ngwasi dismissed the governors’ claims adding that the Nurses will not relent in the fight for their rights. “The CoG is misleading Kenyans on the total amount required to finance the CBA. The nurses CBA requires Sh7.5 billion annually that makes it a total of about 30 billion to finance the CBA for the four years,” he stated.
The strike that started on Monday has seen operations in all public health centers paralyzed, just months after a three-month strike by doctors ended.