Union raises red flag over mass exodus of nurses

The provision of quality medical services in Uasin Gishu is under threat following an exodus of nurses from county-run hospitals, the Kenya National Union of Nurses (Knun) has said.

The union raised alarm as more medics from the county resigned to pursue greener pastures overseas.

Uasin Ngishu Knun secretary Kleen Mutai said the majority of the nurses leaving the county hospitals are between the ages of 21 to 35.

According to statistics from the union, about 120 out of 500 nurses working in Uasin Gishu County-run hospitals have resigned and moved overseas in the past three years.

“If the nurse in charge of the said dispensary is sick for a week, then the facility will remain closed until he or she reports back to duty after recovery,” Mr Mutai said.

Mr Muati said that the majority of the nurses have migrated to the United States of America, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and Finland, among other countries.

Speaking to journalists in Eldoret yesterday on the state of medical services in the county, Mr Mutai said the exit of well-trained and skilled healthcare workers has affected services in Level 3 and Level 4 hospitals.

He said poor remuneration, lack of proper career progression, understaffing in hospitals and a poor working environment were the main reasons why there is a departure of employees.

Mr Mutai regretted that most of the medics who have undergone specialised training in critical areas such as the Intensive Care Unit have also left the country, causing a huge shortage.

The union official challenged the Uasin Gishu County Government to allocate more funds to the health sector to address the problem of understaffing. which is prevalent in most hospitals across the county.

Mr Mutai said the patient-nurse ration is worrying, especially in Level 2 public hospitals in far-flung areas of the expansive county.

He said that at one dispensary, only one person manned the facility yet many patients were in need of medical services.

“If the nurse in charge of the said dispensary is sick for a week, then the facility will remain closed until he or she reports back to duty after recovery,” Mr Mutai said.

He called on Governor Jonathan Bii’s administration to move with speed and address the acute nurse shortage since the majority of residents cannot afford treatment in private facilities.

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