61 striking doctors sacked as standoff enters third week

Empty wards at the Nanyuki and Teaching and Referral Hospital on June 22, 2019 as the ongoing doctors' strike entered the third week. [Standard]
Governor Ndiritu Muriithi has sacked 61 striking doctors for absconding duties.

Addressing journalists at Nanyuki Teaching and Referral Hospital, yesterday, governor Muriithi said the doctors have been participating in an illegal strike for the last three weeks.

The county has since announced a posting order to have medics currently holding administrative positions deployed to Nanyuki and Nyahururu referral hospitals to restore operations.

“A number of our medical officers have been participating in an illegal strike; it was so declared by the court of law,” said the governor.

"Administrative processes of dismissing the said officers applies because they have absconded duties and we have not been able to find them,” he said.

The 61 doctors, who started their strike on June 3, were served with dismissal letters last Friday.

The doctors are protesting failure by the county government to promote them, release some of them for postgraduate studies and increase their salaries.

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However, governor Muriithi maintains that the salary increments demanded by the doctors were unrealistic.

“We all wish we could be paid more, but there is also what is realistic for us to pay,” he said.

Muriithi said some of the doctors were promoted in January and February. He said the county would be advertising the doctors' positions starting today.

However, the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMPDU) South Rift region secretary general, Davji Atellah, said the union unsuccessfully sought to have the county sign a return-to-work formula.

The union had proposed that the county pays arrears accruing from promotions done in January 2019; promote specialists through an internal advertisement and release doctors who are due for post graduate studies.

“We had proposed a return-to-work formula and discussed it with the County Secretary (Karanja Njora) but they later declined to sign,” said Dr Atellah.

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Governor Ndiritu MuriithiNanyuki Teaching and Referral HospitalNyahururuStriking medicsDavji AtellahKMPDU