By Allan Kai

Healthcare workers in Mombasa have launched a go-slow to protest the county government’s failure to pay their salaries and statutory deductions. The workers held a press briefing at the Coast General Provincial Hospital in Mombasa, where they aired their grievances through various union leaders.

One of the key complaints was the unpaid NHIF payments, which they say have not been made since January. This has left healthcare workers unable to access medical services that they themselves offer, leading to demoralization and a decline in morale among the workers.

“It is sad that we are offering health services that we cannot access ourselves. Our NHIF has been red-flagged, and whenever we seek medical help for our family members and ourselves, we are unable to. This is demoralizing and is killing the morale of our healthcare workers,” said, Juma Abdhala, Branch Secretary of Kenya Union of Pharmaceutical Technologists.

Dr. Ghalib Salim, Chairman of the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMPDU) in Mombasa, emphasized that the healthcare workers have not been paid their dues since February, leaving their March and April obligations unmet.

“We have had enough. We shall embark on a go-slow. This is not a strike; we simply want our basic rights to be considered,” said Dr. Salim.

The healthcare workers’ lack of payment is not unique to Mombasa. Dr. Nicho Gitana, Chairman of KMPDU’s Coast Branch, highlighted the issue of unpaid salaries in many counties across the country.

“The national office of KMPDU issued a seven-day walkout notice to the county governments, resulting in four counties paying their outstanding salaries. However, Mombasa and Taita Taveta Counties were not among them,” said Dr. Gitana.

“We, as healthcare workers, feel that due to the noble nature of the work that we do, we should be given priority when it comes to matters of finances,” he added.

The go-slow action is set to take place in all level 4 facilities in Mombasa, including Port Reitz, Tudor, Likoni, and the Kenya Navy hospitals. The action is expected to start tomorrow.

The healthcare workers in Mombasa are demanding their basic rights and prompt payment of their salaries and statutory deductions, which are crucial for their livelihoods and access to medical services. The county government is urged to address the workers’ grievances to avoid further disruptions in the healthcare sector