NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 15 – Medical services in private hospitals remained uninterrupted despite an earlier warning by a section of doctors in private hospitals who threatened to down tools in solidarity with seven Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) officials jailed on Monday.
On Monday, KMPDU suggested that doctors in private and faith-based organisations would withdraw their services following a decision by the Employment and Labour Relations Court committing its leaders to month-long jail sentences, after a directive by the Kenya Medical Association (KMA).
“Specialist doctors are going to withdraw their services from all hospitals for 24 hours as directed by KMA,” KMPDU tweeted Monday.
“Doctors in faith-based organisations have resolved to join the family in struggle for better healthcare for all,” read yet another tweet.
However a spot check by Capital FM News Wednesday morning revealed that medical services at private medical facilities remained available hours before a three-judge bench at the Court of Appeal ordered the release of the seven incarcerated KMPDU officials.
In its ruling Wednesday, the court ordered the release of the KMPDU officials pending the determination of a case challenging one-month jail terms imposed on them.
Prior to the release of the union officials, a visit to the Nairobi Hospital and Guru Nanak Hospital in Nairobi showed normal patient traffic with an ambulance spotted dropping off a patient at one of the facilities.
Operations at the Mater Hospital in Nairobi South ‘B’ also went on undisrupted with officials at the hospital who sought anonymity maintaining that facility was open to members of the public.
Wednesday’s order by Judges Wanjiru Karanja, Hannah Okwengu and Jamila Mohammed was anchored on an inter-party consent adopted by the court, which among other things requires that negotiations on outstanding issues resume with immediate effect in order to restore normalcy in public health centers.
Following negative reports in sections of the media, Nairobi Hospital Chief Executive Officer Gordon Odundo issued a press statement dispelling fears that patients turning up at the facility may not receive medical attention.
“We would like to assure our staff and members of the public that our services are still in operation despite messages on several media platforms on the contrary,” Opondo stated.
“The hospital management is carefully monitoring all events unfolding and is hoping for a quick resolution to the crisis.”