Doctors in private hospitals join health workers strike

Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union secretary general Dr Ouma Oluga (left) with a section of doctors outside Milimani law courts on Thursday, December 22 after the commercial court ordered them to appear on January 10 next year.
Doctors yesterday made good their threat of paralysing activities in private hospitals in support of their colleagues whose strike action entered the third week.

The doctors said they would boycott work every Thursday until the controversial collective bargaining agreement (CBA) is implemented by the Government.

Aga Khan University Hospital was the first casualty after about 100 doctors walked out and addressed the media outside the facility in Parklands Nairobi.

They asked the Government to pay, in arrears, the salaries as stipulated in the CBA.

Gilford Mutwiri, representative of the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) at Aga Khan, warned that the action might be escalated if the impasse is not resolved.

"We are calling on the Government to implement the CBA in arrears and if this is not resolved, we shall escalate the withdrawal of our services from just Thursdays to other days," said Dr Mutwiri.

The medic said the Government's inaction was equal to a medical genocide on the people of Kenya and it (Government) could not say it has no money to pay.

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After the demonstration and media address, the doctors headed to Milimani Law Courts where their union officials were to be sentenced.

The officials spent the better part of Tuesday afternoon meeting doctors at Aga Khan.

The hospital was not as busy as it usually is, as its parking lot was almost empty.

But the hospital in a statement sent to newsrooms sought to dispel any notion that services at the facility had been affected.

"Our team of medical professionals, faculty and staff are committed to working together to ensure normal services are provided to our patients during the ongoing industry unrest. The hospital has in place contingency measures to respond to increasing number of patients seeking care. However, provision of services may take slightly longer than usual," read the statement.

The Nairobi Hospital could not give a statement as to whether the strike had affected its operations or not.

The Standard was  asked to write an email, which was never replied to by the time we went to press.

MP Shah Hospital in Nairobi stated that operations were on as usual without giving more details. Calls and emails to inquire about the status of Mater Hospital went unanswered but our visit revealed that the hospital was busy.

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