Kenya: Looming Doctors Strike in Kenya as Notice Lapses

Nairobi — A strike by Kenyan doctors loomed large Sunday as the notice issued by their union lapsed.

The Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMDU) had issued a notice two weeks ago, threatened to mobilise a strike Monday unless the government meets their demands.

Among the issues they want addressed is lack of adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) for medics in the frontline in the war against COVID-19 as well as giving them medical insurance.

More than 30 healthcare workers and at least 10 specialised doctors have succumbed to COVID-19 since April.

The government, through Labour Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui and his Health counterpart Mutahi Kagwe, has pleaded with the unions to suspend the planned strike even as it works to address their concerns.

The Union Secretary General Dr. Chibanzi Mwachonda had called a press conference on Saturday to issue an update on their move but canceled it at the last minute for further consultations.

All eyes are were on the union officials Sunday as pressure mounts on them to call off the strike due to the devastating effects it will have in the health sector at a time the country is fighting the COVID-19 pandemic which has so far claimed more than 1,500 lives.

Doctors and medical practitioners have accused county governments of failing to implement the 2017-2021 CBA which sought to improve the working conditions for medics.

Workers in public health facilities have decried the provision of substandard face masks and other Personal Protective Equipment.

In some cases, health workers say PPEs provided by county departments of health were inadequate forcing doctors to reuse them.

KMPDU has also decried delays in the payment of salaries by counties, sometimes lastimg for more than 2 months.

It also complained of lack of commitment to address human resource issue including promotions.

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