Doctors Begin Nationwide Strike Despite Kagwe’s Threats

Doctors on Monday, December 21 commenced a nationwide strike over unmet demands.

This comes following failed talks between the government and the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) on a number of grievances.

KMPDU doctors will now join nurses and clinical officers who have been on strike for the last two weeks.

According to the doctors’ union, the demand for the provision of adequate Personal Protective Equipment, enhanced risk allowance and comprehensive medical cover must be met is when they can resume work.

KMPDU secretary general Chibanzi Mwachonda stated that no progress had been made on talks with the national government.

KMPDU acting Secretary-general Dr. Chibanzi Mwachonda. Photo/Courtesy

Speaking in Kisii, Mwachonda said the union had been negotiating with the government for thirty-six days yet nothing has been done to address their grievances.

“It is very difficult to let our members continue working in very difficult conditions without implementable action. So, what we need right now is action from the various government agencies to basically implement what is on the table,” Mwachonda stated.

Mwachonda said the government threats to doctors in form of circulars on intent to sack them will not avert the strike and the union will not be intimidated to back down.

covid-19
Health CS Mutahi Kagwe. [Courtesy]
“It’s about the safety and welfare of the doctors. The country’s fight against the coronavirus will be affected if doctor’s walk out but we have no choice.”

“We have painful experience of doctors rising up to Ksh10 million to cater for ICU fees of their colleagues; to cater for the costs because there is no comprehensive cover,” he added.

On Saturday, December 19 Health Cabinet Secreatay Mutahi Kagwe told nurses and clinical officers who have paralyzed health services across the country to call off the strike and go back to work if they want to keep their jobs.

He asked over 8,000 nurses who are at home due to lack of jobs to send their applications once the positions are advertised.

“The counties should start recruiting new health workers to replace the ones on strike. If the striking workers continue being adamant, the nurses who are at home without jobs should be employed,” he said.

The doctors’ strike was to take place  on Monday, December 7, but had been suspended for 14 days to allow for further talks with the government.

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