Sunday, July 14, 2024

Kenya: Doctors defy court order to end strike

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Elvis Adjetey
Elvis Adjetey
Elvis Adjetey is an experienced African journalist who has worked with top media brands in Ghana where he is based.

Over 4,000 medical doctors in Kenya have defied a court order to end a week-old strike that has disrupted services in government hospitals.

The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists, and Dentists Union declared the strike to demand comprehensive medical cover for the doctors and posting for 1,200 medical interns.

They are also accusing the government of reneging on a promise from a collective bargaining agreement signed in 2017 after a 100-day strike that saw people dying from lack of care.

Government secured the court order to compel the doctors to resume work and return to the negotiating table.

But the doctors are defying the order since the Kenyan government had allegedly disregarded three court orders to increase basic pay for doctors and reinstate suspended doctors.

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Patients stranded

In public hospitals across the country, patients are stranded as they are left unattended or being turned away by hospitals staff.

A patient Josephine Njeri told the BBC that she spent half a day at  Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH), being attended to.

“I have been here since 8 o’clock this morning. We have been told to wait for doctors because they are not in. We have just been in the queue since morning,” she said.

Cabinet Secretary at the Ministry of Health Susan Nakhumicha said her outfit is rolling out measures to mitigate the impact of the strike.

“As far as I’m concerned the referral hospitals are working pretty well and we are committed to ensuring that all facilities under the national hospitals are working,” she told reporters.

In 2017, doctors at Kenya’s public hospitals embarked on a100-day strike to demand better wages and rehabilitation of the country’s dilapidated public-health facilities.

They also demanded continuous training of and hiring of doctors to address a severe shortage of health professionals.

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