Doctors’ strike: Standoff persists on day 7 as Head of Public Service Felix Koskei calls meeting

On the sixth day of the doctors’ strike, two of the country's and the capital city's referral hospitals were the epicentre of the industrial action by medics.

Doctors at the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) and the Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral, and Research Hospital (KUTRRH) were the latest to join in the strike.

The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) Secretary General Dr. Davji Atellah said: “In the morning, we managed to close the emergency services of the Kenyatta National Hospital and we are here with all the doctors at KUTRRH to also close the services...even the bare minimum services that were being offered are now closed...and this will continue until KUTRRH stops the causalisation of doctors.”

This action, the union said, will extend to the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) in Uasin Gishu County on Thursday.

The doctors’ union also said the strike is meant to address the issues particular to the two Nairobi referral hospitals that include what they say are discriminatory employment practises.

“The strike in KNH...the strike at KUTRRH and MTRH will only be called off when we have CBAs that protect the value of workers and dignity of doctors at the place of work,” noted Dr. Atellah.

Two meetings have been held between the union and the government this week alone, but both of the meetings have failed to yield the desired results.

Indeed, the doctors say they are digging their heels in and preparing for the long haul, largely based on the government's treatment of their concerns.

“There is no offer from the government so far for the union and what they are playing is games and tricks...that is why we are saying we have withdrawn and escalated and if any person dies, and if anything happens, it is the government doing that,” the KMPDU boss stated.

The Ministry of Health however maintains that Monday meeting's outcome of posting interns will go on, this despite the union's objection especially on their remuneration.

Both parties to this dispute will have another chance at the negotiation table on Thursday during a meeting that has been convened by the Head of Public Service and enforced by the courts.

The meeting to be held in the afternoon is expected to find a solution to the impasse that has left the health sector teetering on the brink of a shutdown.

The situation in the health sector could be further complicated with health care workers engaged during the COVID-19 period demanding that the government employs them as promised.

They picketed at the ministry's headquarters in Nairobi on Wednesday.


Ministry of Health KMPDU Davji Atellah Doctors strike

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