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Gertrude’s doctors end their strike

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 15 – Doctors at the Gertrude’s Children’s hospital called off a month-long strike Sunday after 24 of them who had been dismissed reinstated.

A female doctor whose terms had been changed because of pregnancy was also reinstated to her permanent position following an agreement between the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentist Union (KMPDU) and the hospital’s management.

KMPDU Chairman Victor Ng’ani said the doctors would resume duty on Wednesday since most of them had got other engagements.

“It is a spirit of give and take. If you hold on too strongly to a particular tenet then it makes agreements difficult. In addition to that we have all the doctors receiving their full pay for the month of July and they are also going to get a pay increase next month,” Ng’ani said.

However, the doctors would not receive their June pay.

The doctors went on strike in June following what they termed as management’s high handedness and refusing them join the doctors union.

“We have made a small concession that we will accept recognition as an umbrella body rather than as an institution but we have also been able to give a timeline to this so we will have recognition within a period of two months,” Ng’ani stated.

“Somehow it is not the best deal that we could have got but we have got something we can talk of,” he added.

At the same time, the doctors union accused the government of unwillingness to implement the Musyimi taskforce report that has provisions aimed at improving public health facilities.

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The report calls for the establishment of a 20-bed newborn unit in each county to prevent neo-natal deaths, 10 bed dialysis centre in every county, and provision of money for the purchase of essential medicines and supplies at a cost of Sh15.7 billion annually.

Ng’ani said although the report which was developed at the beginning of this year was a good one, political intricacies had derailed its actualisation.

“We thought that this report would be implemented but now politics has played out and we are seeing other interests having been given priority and our conclusion is what it was in December that the government simply does not care about the health of its people,” he said.

“The truth is, every single person will need a hospital that works at a time when our lives depend on it, so why don’t we think ahead and invest in this healthcare,” he noted.

The report was developed by a special taskforce comprising representatives from the doctors union and the government following a ten-day doctor’s standoff with the government in December last year.

“If the public can understand that healthcare is a right and understand that this report is very good for them then they can demand it because as a union we don’t have the liberty to withdraw services at every single issue because the end result is that the public suffers,” Ng’ani stated.


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