By Kenneth Marangu
Tharaka Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki has directed that 85 nurses whose one-year-contract was due to expire today Monday be employed on permanent and pensionable basis.
Mr Njuki lauded the nurses for the crucial role in the provision of medical services at all the county health facilities.
The county boss said his government will continue supporting and engaging the workers through dialogue to ensure that they have an enabling environment.
“I direct the department of Health employs the nurses on permanent and pensionable basis,” Mr Njuki said during a fundraiser at Kiang’ondu PCEA Church in the outskirts of Chuka town.
The remarks come barely two months after Kenya National Union of Nurses (Knun) Tharaka Nithi officials warned of a likelihood of most of the facilities being adversely affected if the nurses wouldn’t be absorbed on permanent basis or their contracts be renewed.
The 85 nurses had been served with a letter clearly indicating that the county would not renew their contracts and further asked them to clear with their respective supervisors upon expiry of their contracts.
“I take this opportunity to thank you for the services you have rendered to the people of Tharaka Nithi and wish you God’s blessings in your future endeavours,” read part of the letter signed by Alex Muratha, Head of Human Resource Management.
Kenya National Union of Nurses (Knun) TharakaNithi branch officials said services at some of the facilities would be adversely affected if the 85 are not absorbed on permanent basis or their contracts renewed.
The county with 118 health facilities has a deficit of 335 nurses and more are set to retire this year, including 12 working at Chuka County Referral Hospital according to the branch Secretary Fabian Marigu.
The official recently told media in Chuka town that the county currently has 475 nurses and that a total of 60 nurses took early retirement last year while 20 have since beginning of the year retired from work.
The nurses officials raised concern that some of their members who had furthered their studies to Master’s Degree level were leaving for neighbouring Meru County where job terms are said to be appealing.
“Some of the nurses who have pursued Masters Degrees are still being paid as diploma holders thereby demoralizing them,” the branch Chair Joshua Mwiti said.