RETURNEES FACE STIGMA, LACK JOBS State to hire ‘Ebola’ nurses in slum clinics
‘You always know your genuine friends when you go through tough times. Kenya stood with us during the Ebola outbreak’
The nurses who volunteered to fight Ebola in West Africa last year will be given first priority during recruitment of health workers for clinics in slums.
Some of the 170 health workers had resigned from their jobs to travel to Sierra Leone and Liberia in January.
The volunteers — including nurses, doctors and laboratory technicians — were between Sh270,000 and Sh450,000 montly, during their six month stay in West Africa.
Although they were praised as heros and President Uhuru Kenyatta hosted at State House when they returned in June last year, many volunteers have faced stigma and remained jobless.
The Health ministry has said it will hire qualified nurses to work in portable clinics in slums.
“We are proud of you for representing our nation during the Ebola outbreak in Liberia and Sierra Leone. Should opportunities arise, we will accord you preference,” Health CS Cleopa Mailu said yesterday.
The government will recruit 400 health workers for slum upgrading beginning this month.
About 70 nurses are unemployed. All the 170 volunteers were feted with presidential commendations during Mashujaa Day celebrations. Hired nurses will staff 100 clinics. Health PS Nicholas Muraguri told Parliament the first 20 clinics will be opened in Nairobi slums this month.
“The others will be taken to various parts of the country to improve healthcare. You can help us identify sites in your constituencies,” he said.
Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf thanked Kenya for supporting the country to fight Ebola.
“You always know your genuine friends in tough times. Kenya stood with us when we were confronted by Ebola. We will always remain indebted to you,” she said.
More than 4,000 Liberians died of Ebola between 2013 and June this year, according to WHO. About 3,900 Sierra Leoneans died.
President Uhuru Kenyatta (third left) with medical volunteers to the African Union Support to Ebola Outbreak in West Africa at State House, Nairobi, on January 9, 2015