Doctors’ strike continues

Dec, 22nd 2020 – Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union secretary General, Chibanzi Mwachonda, says that no progress has been made in regards to the talks with the national government.

Speaking in Kisii during the burial of yet another medic who succumbed to Covid-19, Mwachonda said that they are yet to receive adequate PPE, enhanced risk allowances and comprehensive medical cover, among other demands.

He said that the medics’ strike will continue even as the ministry of health emphasizes on having discussions to meet their demands.

15 days ago, more than 36,000 nurses and clinicians began a strike and according to Deputy Secretary general of Kenya Union of Clinical officers, Austine Oduor Otieno, talks to get them back to work collapsed.

The recent death of the 28 year old, Dr. Stephen Mogusu, has been used to illustrate the challenges doctors are facing in this pandemic. The union launched the strike on Monday in his hometown in Western Kenya’s Kisii county before attending his funeral.

According to a union official in charge of Nyanza region of Western Kenya, Dr. Kelvin Osur, “he embodied the reasons we have to go on strike, he is a young doctor who died without formal employment. He is a young doctor who died without NHIF cover, he is a young doctor who died without compensation.”

Mutahi Kagwe, Kenya’s health minister has in the recent weeks warned medical workers who were already on strike and those planning to go on strike that they will lose their jobs.

Kagwe said, “I urge you to resume work to avoid losing your job. As we go toward Christmas, the festive season, do not be another statistic that will be a job seeker next year.”

In response, Chibanzi Mwachonda, KMPDU Secretary General said that the threats will only worsen the situation. He said, “Stop threatening and intimidating our doctors. If you continue that path then we are going down the drain because the frontline workers will stay home and when they stay home there will be no fight against COVID-19.”

He added that doctors have been forced to raise funds for colleagues needing Covid-19 treatment. Many kenyans have expressed anger on social media platforms as the government for not heeding the medics’ cries and instead focusing on politics pushing for a referendum to change the constitution to create more seats in the executive.

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