Health crisis looms as KMPDU says strike to proceed on Dec 21

Health crisis looms as KMPDU says strike to proceed on Dec 21

Kenya faces a health crisis after KMPDU said the doctors strike will proceed starting Monda, December 21.

The Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentists Union cited unresolved issues after eight months of engaging with the government.

“Doctors will withdraw their labour in accordance with Article 41 of the Constitution and after the lapse of the 21-day strike notice issued on November 16 and suspended for 14 additional days,” the KMPDU notice reads.

Cadres of doctors who will be on strike include medical officer interns; pharmacist interns; dental officer interns; medical officers; pharmacists; dentists; medical specialists (consultants) as well as medical superintendents, county directors of health doctor administrators and sub-county medical officers.

On Friday, Health CS Mutahi Kagwe had warned health workers against proceeding with the strike.

“I urge you to resume work to avoid losing your job. Please do not lose your job. As we go towards Christmas, the festive season, do not be another statistic that will be a job seeker next year. Please go back to where you are supposed to be.”

He lauded the court’s decision to stop the health workers strike saying the decision is timely for the festive season and will allow for negotiations.

However, according to the Kenya Union of Clinical Officers (KUCO), Kagwe’s statement was erroneous.

“The temporary suspension was for a different strike by Ministry of Health staff which had lasted for one and half months. The national strike continues,” the union said.

Doctors have accused the government of failing to commit itself to fulfil their recommendations.

“I want to remind the government that the healthcare workers you’re trying to mistreat, the healthcare workers you’re not listening to, are the same ones who treat you when you go to the hospitals, are the same ones who take care of you in your various homes,” the union’s National Chairperson Dr. Samuel Oroko said.

“We know some governors have bought ventilators and created ICUs in their own bedrooms, Kenyans, I want to tell you that you’re on your own, the government doesn’t care for you anymore,” he added.

KMPDU Acting Secretary General Chibanzi Mwachonda had lashed out at Health CS Mutahi Kagwe following his remarks on the health workers strike.

He criticised Kagwe for thanking medics yet they are bearing the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is the level of insensitivity & arrogance health care workers have to deal with, raising grievances on your welfare and safety in COVID-19 is a crime. The ‘appreciation’ to health care workers in the country is illaudable,” he said on Twitter.