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Govt says doctors trooping back to work, hat in hand

Doctors went on strike on December 5 leaving public hospitals in the hands of clinical officers for the last 3 months/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 10 – Public hospitals across the country are reporting that striking doctors have started resuming duty, two days after President Uhuru Kenyatta read them the riot act in Naivasha.

Makueni leads with 50 percent of doctors back, followed closely by Nyandarua, Kiambu and Machakos, Lamu and Taita Taveta, according to Health Principal Secretary Nicholas Muraguri.

He indicated that “other hospitals where operations have resumed include Mathare Mental Health hospital, Moi Referral Hospital and the Kenyatta National Hospital.”

He stated that services remain uninterrupted in Bomet, Lamu, Wajir, Mandera Samburu and Turkana.

The resumption comes at a time the government has started sacking those who failed to heed President Kenyatta’s directive in drastic measures aimed at ending the three-month strike called by doctors union officials who have turned down the government offer of a 40 per cent pay increase.

In Nyeri, Health County Executive Charles Gethenji said more than 20 doctors are willing to report back to work but fear intimidation from their colleagues.

Gethenji assured the doctors that security in Nyeri County is high and they will be protected from any internal or external harassment in their work stations.

“Those that have shown interest to come and work are 20. Now with the directive from the President and the Council of Governors, we have given them up to Friday for them to come back otherwise we will be initiating disciplinary process from next week on Monday,” he said.

He urged them to make personal decisions and stand by the oath they took.

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“We are going to take a head count and roll call and we will initiate disciplinary action against any doctor who will not be at their work stations,” he stated.

A spot check at the Nyeri Referral Hospital by Capital FM has revealed that 10 doctors have already reported back to work.

Counties have begun firing doctors after an ultimatum issued by the National and County governments expired.

READ: Counties start firing doctors as ultimatums expire

In Machakos, Governor Alfred Mutua gave doctors until Thursday to resume duty or be fired.

He said the demands advanced by the striking medics were unrealistic adding that the strike had been politicised.

Mutua said that doctors had held Kenyans hostage with many people losing their lives due to collapse of services in public health institutions.

He accused the doctors of shifting goalposts in their demands despite efforts by mediators and a personal appeal by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The Council of Governors maintained its hard stance stating that doctors squandered their chance during mediation to end the strike which paralysed operations in public hospitals for over three months.

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Speaking during the final day of the 4th Annual Devolution Conference, CoG Chairman Peter Munya maintained that the government will not engage in any more discussions with the striking doctors.


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