, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 4 – Medical Services Minister Anyang’ Nyong’o has withdrawn the right by striking registrar doctors to train and practice at the Kenyatta National Hospital.
The minister who acted following a strike by the post graduate doctors also suspended all registrars at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital until end of this month, although they never participated in the strike.
While issuing the directive, Nyong’o maintained that the government was under no obligation to pay the self sponsored registrar doctors.
“We have consulted widely and effectively and we have realised that that consultation must now come to an end and action must be taken to show leadership. Once to every man and nation comes a moment to decide, we cannot sit by and see our patients suffering because some people are making unnecessary and unusual demands,” the minister stated.
He said the strike by the self sponsored registrars who are demanding a monthly stipend and government sponsored registrars who want the government to clear fee arrears owed to universities amounted to blackmailing the government.
“It has opened our eyes to how better we can run health services but the net effect too is that our people have been suffering which we can’t quite allow especially when it is so unnecessary, it is painful. I think the medical profession requires more commitment and patience. It makes me feel very lonely when I see that this particular demand of paying self sponsored students causes a strike,” he said.
But the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentist Union Chairman Victor Ng’ani has accused the minister of contravening a court order of August 30 which bars the government from sacking any of the union members participating in the strike.
“The court order prevents them from sacking our members until a court hearing on 13th September,” Ng’ani said.
The strike which entered its second week on Monday has affected operations at the Kenyatta National Hospital which is the largest referral hospital in the country.
Patients have had to wait longer than usual before being attended to by a doctor.
“I was here by 7am for routine clinic but we have been told our doctor is not there and we should come back another day. But my problem is that I cannot pass urine and so I am just waiting to see if there will be any other doctor to attend to me,” complained one cancer patient.
“I came here at 9am. I have a problem with my leg. I am still in the process, I am yet to see a doctor and I found many patients waiting,” said another patient.
The registrar doctors-both self sponsored and government sponsored- at the Kenyatta National Hospital and Mathari hospital went on strike a week ago.
The self sponsored registrars who are currently not getting any pay are demanding a monthly stipend of Sh92, 000 while the government sponsored registrars want the state to pay up arrears to universities amounting to Sh200million.
“The role of the Ministry of Medical Services is to ensure that self sponsored students have an enabling environment and a good learning environment which Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) has provided for them. We are under no other obligation since they are self sponsored. They should in fact be paying us for using our facilities to gain knowledge but we are generous enough to provide this environment free of charge,” Nyong’o said.
“All registrars whose training and practicing has been withdrawn should be given one month notice to vacate all KNH facilities with effect from August 27 this year,” the minister directed.
He said the striking registrar doctors should realise that the constitution gives all Kenyans a right to life.
“The government is under no obligation to pay self sponsored post graduate students who are not government employees,” he maintained.
“The ministries of medical services and public health wish to advice all doctors and interns who are striking to comply with the ministerial directives and abide by the rules and regulations governing their training.”
Registrar doctors are those training to specialise in specific fields but already have a first degree in medicine, a degree in surgery, done internship and worked for over four years.
Currently, there are about 450 registrar doctors out of who 200 are government sponsored and the rest are self sponsored.
The Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentist Union which called the strike has already issued the government a 14 days nationwide strike notice which ends on 13th September if no action is taken to resolve the stalemate.