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Hospitals still deserted as counties sack striking doctors

By NDERITU GICHURE and BONIFACE GIKANDI | Published Tue, March 14th 2017 at 00:00, Updated March 13th 2017 at 21:59 GMT +3

Some counties in Mt Kenya region made good their threat to sack striking doctors.

In a number of counties, however, the medics started returning to work following a directive by President Uhuru Kenyatta and the Council of Governors.

In Murang'a, 45 medical officers were served with dismissal letters after they failed to return to work by last Friday.

In Kirinyaga, all the 65 doctors employed by the county were suspended without pay for failing to resume duty.

In Murang'a, 35 medical officers were yesterday expected to get their dismissal letters if they failed to turn up at their work places by close of business.

A roll call was conducted by county government officials in charge of health in all medical facilities.

A spot check at Murang'a district hospital revealed that hundreds of patients thronged public health facilities in anticipation that the doctors would resume duty.

Murang'a county director of medical services Winfred Kanyi said only four doctors were back on duty.

"After the February directive that they resume work, only two came back, two others started serving after the last week's directive," Dr Kanyi said.

There are 80 medical officers attached to various health facilities in the county.

EXPIRED DEADLINE

In Nyeri, services at the local referral hospital remained grounded with many doctors yet to resume duties even as the deadline given by the county government expired.

Health Executive Dr Charles Githinji said 18 doctors had resumed by yesterday in the county's five hospitals.

By yesterday, only a skeleton workforce of two dentists, two medical interns and two pharmacist had resumed duty.

A spot check by The Standard showed only a few patients sought medical services in public hospitals.

Only three doctors had resumed work in Meru by 2pm yesterday.

Health Chief Officer Dr James Gitonga said the three were stationed at Timau and Kiirua hospitals.

"Today is the deadline for all doctors to return to work. If by tomorrow they will to have resumed duty we will give them suspension letters and take other appropriate action," Dr Gitonga said.

The Meru Referral and Teaching Hospital (MRTH) still remained largely deserted.

Casualty wards, theatres, ultra-sound rooms and laboratories remained closed.

Additional reporting by Munene Kamau and Phares Mutembei

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