Taita-Taveta County sacks 500 striking health workers

Taita-Taveta nurses

Knun Taita-Taveta branch Secretary-General Reuben Matolo speaking to journalists during a past media interview. The county has dismissed over 500 nurses and clinical officers who have been on strike. PHOTO | LUCY MKANYIKA | NMG

Taita-Taveta County has sacked over 500 health workers for participating in an ”illegal strike”.

The medical workers were sacked after they declined to return to work as directed by County Secretary Leverson Mghendi and Health Department Chief Officer Philomena Kirote.

The county secretary had asked the clinical officers and nurses to return to work saying the matter was being addressed at the national level. His letter was later followed by a ”show cause” notice that demanded that the health workers state why they had absconded duty despite being asked to return to work.

The letter, which was signed by acting County Public Service Board Chief Executive Officer Rachel Mwadime, ordered the sacked medics to immediately surrender all property belonging to the county government to their supervisors.


In an interview, County Health Executive John Mwakima said the process to replace the officers is ongoing.

“The public service board has already initiated the replacement process. We want normal operations in our health facilities to resume immediately,” he said.

He said the county government will recruit 400 new healthcare workers to replace the sacked ones.

Mr Mwakima said the process will be completed by next week.

“Our people are suffering. I have received many distress messages from residents who are unable to get treatment. That is why we are working to ensure that services resume by next week,” he said.

‘Sackings illegal’

Meanwhile, the Kenya National Union of Nurses (Knun) Taita-Taveta branch vowed to move to court to challenge the sackings.

The union’s branch Secretary-General Reuben Matolo termed the sacking illegal.

“We are going to move to court because we are holding a legal strike. We will not be cowed by such intimidation,” he said.

He said the county government withdrew the nurses from the payroll and they will seek legal redress if the matter is not resolved.

“We are yet to receive our December salaries but we will go to court to counter this decision,” he said.

The strike, which kicked off in December last year, has paralysed health services in the entire county.

Among the departments affected are the renal unit, maternity, paediatric care, theatre, in-patient and the cancer centre.

The fight against Covid-19 has also been interrupted as all cases are now under home-based care and this may threaten the lives of those who need close attention by health workers.

Private clinics in the county are also reaping big as patients, especially pregnant mothers, flock the hospitals for lack of services at public health facilities.

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By Prof. Joel Barasa

The Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) Faculty of Computer and Informatics, School of Science P. O. Box 62157-00200 Nairobi -Lang’ata Main Campus Email: Phone: +254705451853/+254769257365 LinkedIn: GitHub: Websites: and Mr. Barasa I. Joel is a Kenyan citizen by birth. He is currently an adjunct lecturer and an IT specialist in Curriculum studies in the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Mr. Joel holds Post Graduate Program (EPGP) in Data Science, Business Analytics & Big Data in association with IBM which is India's first and the best Masters in Data Science from mUniversity, Aegis School of Business, Data Science, Cyber Security & Telecommunication. He also holds a Degree in BSc. Information Technology from the University of Kabianga, a Professional Certification CCNA and Data Analysis from the University of Kabianga. Joel is senior Software Developer with over 5 years worked on many projects like Kenbright Insurance, Rongo University eLearning portal, participated in integration of DHIS2 health IT systems at Kericho District Referral Hospital and served as H.O.D ICT department Okame college. Joel is an assessor and verifier in TVET CDACC curriculum implementation.

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