, MACHAKOS, Kenya, Aug 5 – Machakos County hospitals are open and functioning normally despite an ongoing strike by a section of doctors.
And a defiant Machakos Governor Dr Alfred Mutua reiterated that he will not be arm twisted in his crusade to ensure services are well delivered at all public hospitals across the county.
Dr Mutua spoke as members of the county assembly health committee said they will convene sittings to find a solution to the ongoing strike.
The governor however said he was open to discussion on how to end the stalemate but will not bow down to blackmail.
“The people come first. If you are unable to keep up to the high standards expected in Machakos to serve Wananchi better, then please quit,” Dr Mutua said.
He added that clinical officers, nurses, retired and contracted doctors have filled the gap occasioned by the striking doctors.
“This is the first time health facilities in the country have managed to operate when doctors have downed their tools,” said Mutua.
A spot check at the Machakos Level 5, Kathiani, Kangundo and Mwala hospitals revealed that operations were normal with clinical officers, nurses and contracted doctors offering services.
Mutua said pharmacies at the hospitals were well stocked with medicine adding that patients must not be forced to buy prescriptions from private chemists.
The strike was called by the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union, which alleges interference in their work, lack of promotions and poor housing.
On Thursday, Dr Mutua gave the striking doctors 48 hours to resume duty or face disciplinary action.
Dr Mutua who toured the Machakos Level 5 hospital said those who will not resume duty will be viewed to have absconded and staffing measures will be undertaken.
He added there was no paralysis at the county hospitals and health centres as mitigation measures were being put in place.
“We will be advertising for more doctors and other health workers in line with my pledge to provide world class health services to the people of Machakos,” said Mutua.
He said doctors who do not come to work as scheduled or are busy at their clinics were behind the strike.
Mutua said he suspended an Administrator at Kathiani hospital for lethargy, not coming to work and poor delivery of administrative services.
“At no time did I criticize or interfere with any doctor’s practice. The Administrator just happened to be a doctor and she was suspended for her failures as an administrator not as a doctor,” said Dr Mutua.