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Confusion as doctors continue with strike

Health & Science
 A deserted ward at Kisumu County Hospital during a past strike in February. Medics have vowed to stay home until demands are met. [File, Standard]

Doctors working in public hospitals in Kisumu continued with their strike yesterday, even as the county insisted they had signed a back-to-work agreement.

County acting Health executive Nerry Achar while outlining the issues discussed for implementation of a return-to-work formula, said they had reached an agreement. An official statement will be made to call off the trike, the executive added.

“The doctors drafted the document with their demands of which we have agreed to implement,” said Mr Achar.

He pleaded with the doctors to return to work as the county addresses grievances.

“We promise to deliver their promises in a timely fashion as indicated and agreed upon,” said Achar.

But the 250 doctors said the crisis meetings held to end the strike failed to yield fruit.

Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union Nyanza Chairman Kevin Osuri said they would not return to work until their grievances are addressed.

“We did not reach an agreement. We are tired of being taken for granted. The strike will continue,” noted Osuri.

Speaking at Jaramogi Odinga Oginga Teaching and Referral Hospital (JOOTRH) Dr Osuri advised members of the public to seek treatment in private hospitals.

A spot check by The standard revealed that patients at Kisumu County Referral Hospital (KCRH) and JOOTRH were being attended to by nurses.

Ruth Achieng, a patient at KCRH said a nurse had prescribed pain killers and asked her to return to the facility (today) with the hope that she would find a doctor to attend to her.

“My condition needs a doctor’s examination. I will be back on Monday (today) to try my luck again,’ said Ms Achieng. Many units at the facility remained closed except for the wards and outpatient unit.

Kisumu County Hospital medical superintendent Francis Otieno could not confirm if there was a strike or not. He said most doctors do not report to work on weekends unless there is an emergency.

“It is hard to tell if they are on strike or not but in case of an emergency they should respond and save lives,” said Dr Onyango.

Earlier governor Anyang’ Nyong’o said his administration was holding talks with the unions and a strike would be averted.

“I assure the residents that there will be no strike by the doctors, as the issues will be discussed and resolved amicably,” said Prof Nyong’o.

Doctors' grievances include delayed promotions and lack of a comprehensive NHIF insurance cover. They also accuse the county of not implementing a Collective Bargaining Agreement.

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