, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 5 – Striking doctors and nurses in public hospital in the country on Monday defied government’s directive to resume work.
Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Doctors Union (KMPPDU) chairman Samuel Osoro insisted that the medics will continue with their strike until government meets their demands.
“No amount of intimidation, no amount of propaganda will make us change our determination. We have heard lots and lots of dialogue and we are saying dialogue has to come to an end and we have to take action, and the action is doctors in Kenya will remain on strike until CBA is implemented,” he declared.
Osoro asked the public to prepare for the longest strike ever; they said they will not report to work and that if they do, no patients will be admitted.
The doctors’ union warned that any further legal challenge by the government to slow the process would throw the sector into a period of unprecedented chaos.
“The government must know that what they are seeing is not even one percent of what the doctors are capable of; we have the capacity to escalate this strike,” a KMPPDU official said while addressing his colleagues who had gathered at the Railways Club.
“Therefore it is up to the government to resolve this strike because we can continue enjoying this game.”
The health workers under Kenya National Union of Nurses and Kenya Medical Practitioners and Pharmacists Union want a 300 per cent salary increment as stipulated in the CBA signed in 2013.
“Today we the doctors of Kenya, have decided that the Government of Kenya, will either have to pay doctors or will have none of them,” KMPPDU Secretary-General Dr Fredrick Oluga stated.
“We have seen in the recent NYS scandal, that tenders were being inflated by adding a zero at the end of figure; such that if it was Sh10 million they would a zero and it would be Sh10 billion. So we want them to add a zero on our salaries, we want to be paid like they were paying out the tenders,” said on the health workers who matched to the National Treasury Building, wearing lab coats, masks and theatre caps, and armed with empty sacks that they said they hoped would be filled with their arrears.
The strike by the nearly 5,000 doctors, clinicians, pharmacist, dentists and other health professional affected service delivery at over 2,700 public health facilities as patients seeking treatment were turned away and referred to privately owned health facilities.
In Nairobi, more than 100 patients are reported to have escaped from the Mathari Mental Hospital after doctors and nurses in the hospital joined the ongoing nationwide health workers strike.
Motorists and pedestrians along Thika Superhighway reported seeing the mentally challenged patients jumping over the Hospital perimeter fence.
Nairobi Police Commander Japheth Koome confirmed police have already arrested dozens of the mentally challenged patients who had escaped in an on-going operation.
Koome said the patients managed to escape after health workers at the Mathari Mental Hospital deserted duty leaving the patients unattended.
Doctors have been demanding a 300 per cent pay increase while nurses want a raise of 25 to 40 per cent, as well as allowances.
This will see the lowest paid doctor pocket Sh342,000 and the highest pocket slightly over Sh940,000 away from the current remuneration of Sh500,000 for the highest paid and Sh40,000 for the lowest paid.
Both unions have faulted a job evaluation report by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission, claiming it had failed to indicate what they should earn.
The report says the highest-paid doctor is set to earn Sh946,000 while the lowest will get Sh342,770.