Doctors issue announces nationwide strike; Here’s why

In the event that the government fails to address any outstanding issues of contention by Sunday midnight, doctors plan to go on a nationwide strike.

Key concerns, according to the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union, include intern posting, promotions, health insurance, postgraduate fee payment, study leaves, and pensions.

Following a meeting on Sunday, the National Advisory Committee Council made the decision.

Dennis Miskellah, the deputy secretary general, stated in a Monday speech that although the strike notice was originally scheduled to be issued in June, the recent events forced a move to advance it.

He mentioned SG Davji Atellah’s injuries sustained during last Thursday’s protests.

Doctors issue announces nationwide strike; Here's why
Doctors issue announces nationwide strike; Here’s why

Additionally, there has been a tug-of-war between the government and the unions regarding the posting of interns, whom the unions contend are wasting away and sitting around the house.

“We met as the National Advisory Committee Council and we have agreed to do our nationwide strike starting Sunday next week,” Miskellah said.

“We are going to give a seven-day notice today then we will do our nationwide strike to ensure that every single issue we have fought for from promotions to medical cover, internship, pension, study leaves and school fees and issues around the SG must be addressed.”

According to KMPDU, 1,215 medical interns are awaiting posting with some having waited for either six months or one year.

In a meeting held between the unions and the Ministry of Health on January 22, it had been agreed that all the interns would be posted by the end of February.

The ministry has maintained that the Treasury is yet to release funds to that effect.

In a meeting held between the union and interns affected by the delay on February 20, they had given the ministry until March 1 to ensure all interns received their posting letters.

The union said failure by the government will result in a go-slow by all the doctors across the country.

“We have been on a go slow today (Monday) it culminates in a nationwide protest from KMA to the Ministry of Health and the Interior Ministry to protest how 25 interns were hurt last week,” Miskellah said.

“We had intended to do this strike in June but they have made us to bring it forward.”

He disclosed that Atellah will be away for at least six weeks as he continues to receive treatment.

On Saturday Health CS Susan Nakhumicha said Sh4.9 billion is needed to post the interns.

Speaking to NTV, the CS said she would only be able to post the interns if the Treasury releases the funds required.

“They have not been posted for an internship because they want a salary which I don’t have, to post all these I need Sh4.9 billion, which I don’t have,” Nakhumicha said.

“Until Treasury gives me money then I post them, if Treasury does not give me I will change the law so that then they can be affordable otherwise for now they are unaffordable.”

The Ministry had committed to post all the 3,759 interns by June.

They include the medical officers, dentist officers, pharmacists, nursing officers and clinical officers.

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