, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 7 – Striking doctors took to the streets on Wednesday – the third day of their nationwide strike – demonstrating to various government offices to demand that their grievances be addressed.
They walked from the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) to the headquarters of the twin ministries of health at Afya House before proceeding to the Treasury and later to Parliament buildings.
The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union chairman Victor Ng’ani rubbished the government’s offer of Sh1.35 billion to pay extraneous allowances saying it was meant to hoodwink them.
“Impunity is assistant minister (Kambi) Kazungu standing up and telling a lie that they have given Sh1.35 billion to the Kenyan doctor while in fact they have offered Sh161 million which amounts to Sh7,000 for the neurosurgeon and cardiologist for the entire period,” he stated.
He accused the government of ignoring the welfare of Kenyans and said they would not relent in their demands until a reasonable offer was made.
“The government of Kenya is not intent on listening to us. It does not matter how long the doctors of Kenya strike or how long we stay on the street or how long we shout, they will not listen to us,” he said.
“The reason for that (obstinacy) is simple. Since no child or relative of any government official is currently in the hospital and none of them can suffer, but we as the public should hold the government accountable.”
He stressed that the doctors will not be intimidated by any kind of threat made to them.
“Anybody who attempts to interfere with the constitutional rights of individuals will be met with severe civil litigations that will be undertaken by the union,” he said.
Those who have kin in various hospitals continue to express concern over the impact of the strike on their welfare. They are fearful that the long term effect of their neglect could be disastrous.
“I feel very bad when my child is in the hospital suffering due to the mass action. The government should listen to the doctors and resolve their issues so that they can come back to work,” Agnes Wanjiru whose son is admitted to the Kenyatta National Hospital said.
They now want the government to speedily negotiate with the doctors so that they may return to work.
“The patients are the ones who are suffering most. The doctors should be given what they want so that they may come back to work.”
“My husband’s case is critical and if he is not operated on… he may be paralysed. If they (doctors) had been working he would already have been operated upon.”