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Kenyan doctors’ strike enters second week

Medical services across the East African nation have been paralyzed

A nationwide strike by Kenyan doctors has entered its second week, as medical services across the country continue to be affected. Unions have accused the government of failing to fulfil promises made in a collective agreement signed in 2017. 

Around 4,000 doctors are participating in the strike, according to the Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentists Union. The action began on March 14 and has continued despite a labor court directive urging the union to end the walkout and facilitate negotiations with the government. 

The union is demanding comprehensive medical cover for doctors, and that the government compensate the absence of 1,200 interns. 

The strike has led to the paralysis of medical services in hospitals across the East African nation, leaving patients unattended or turned away. Among the areas affected are the districts of Nakuru, Kwale, Kilifi, Migori, and Mombasa. 

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The executive director of the Kenyan Network of Cancer Organizations (KENCO), Phoebe Ongadi, said the disruption caused by the strike “poses a grave threat to the lives of cancer survivors, leaving them vulnerable and uncertain about their future.” 

Local media have cited union leaders as insisting that they will not call off the strike until their demands are met. 

On Tuesday, the cabinet secretary for the Ministry of Health, Susan Nakhumicha, stated that “the relevant stakeholders [are working] together to address the issues raised by their union.”  

In 2017, Kenya’s public hospital doctors staged a 100-day strike, the longest in the nation’s history, advocating for improved salaries, the restoration of public healthcare infrastructure, and more healthcare professionals.   

March 21, 2024 at 03:18PM

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