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Doctors' strike bites in Nyamira and Nakuru

 When KMPDU Secretary General Davji Bhimji accompanied by other Doctors issued a strike notice on May 9, 2023. [Jenipher Wachie, Standard]

Health services at hospitals in Nyamira County remained paralysed for the third day running as doctors went on strike.

However, the situation was different in Nakuru County where nurses and clinical officers filled the gap left by the striking doctors.

A spot check by the Standard at the Nakuru level 5 hospital showed that most services are being offered.

Florence Mcharia, who had brought her baby for the normal postnatal clinics, said and everything was going on normally and her baby had been attended to by the nurses who were at the facility.

Another patient Susan Wanjiru had visited the facility at 4.00am in the morning with symptoms of chest pain and high blood pressure and was attended to.

However, emergencies and theatre services have felt the impact as most specialists are on strike and it may take time before the services are offered to the or they may need to seek treatment from private hospitals.

At the Nyamira County Referral Hospital, the Medical Superintendent Dr Jared Oeba and two consultant doctors from Cuba were the only doctors present to offer specialised services at the facility. About 20 other doctors working at the hospital stayed away.

Dr Oeba turned his office into a temporary consultation room as he shouldered the responsibilities of his colleagues who are on strike.

Queues of patients were witnessed outside the Medical Superintendent's office as they patiently awaited to be attended to.

At Sub county hospitals, only clinical officers, nurses and other assistant medical personnel were on duty with roles of medical officers missing.

The Standard established that the county government was consulting with the doctors to find a solution to the stalemate that has grossly affected services.

Nyamira Chief Officer for Primary Healthcare Services Moenga Momanyi said the doctors were still in talks with the County leadership but declined to divulge more information about the progress that had been achieved so far.

"We are in a meeting with the doctors and you will know the progress very soon," Moenga said in a phone conversation.

The doctors went on strike on Monday morning, demanding that the county meets their demands for a better pay alongside other matters which they said have been pending for over two years.

"This is a strike the Government itself has started because we have been waiting for its communication with regard to our grievances but to our dismay, there hasn't come any communication from the Governor or his people," Dr Onyango Ndong'a, the Nyanza KMPDU chairman said in a presser.

The Union's branch secretary Dr Agrrey Orwenyo said the issues they wanted addressed were contained in a collective bargaining agreement that had been signed by the county and themselves back in 2021.

"We have been patient enough but we cannot watch any further the situation going as if nothing matters about our issues," Dr Orwenyo said.

Among key issues they want addressed is effecting of pending job promotions, meeting patient requirements in terms of drugs and equipment in facilities, commitment to employ more doctors to ease work load and improving the general welfare of medical officers.

"We have been compromising services for far too long. Patients are getting a raw deal because an overworked doctor may not give his or her best owing to the huge work load," Ndong'a said.

The Chairman said Nyamira strike was a tip of the iceberg to other counties in Nyanza whom he noted were also slow in meeting similar demands.

"This is a warning shot to other counties where there are such pending matters with us," he said.

In Nakuru County, resisents asked Governor Susan Kihika to move with speed and resolve the issue with the doctors on strike stating that if the situation is prolonged at the casualty area by the Clinical officers and the nurses on duty before being discharged at about noon.

Ms fauna Nge'tich who had also visited the level 5 hospital was not aware that the Doctors were on strike.

She said that she had been attended to well by the physiotherapist's nurses and Doctors at the facility as she has been seeking treatment there for the last six months.

However, patients that needed specialized treatment and care like the residents will continue to suffer as the services will be paralysed.

Hundreds of Doctor's have gone on strike since yesterday, demanding that the county government implement their Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). The doctors are complaining about working in poor conditions, among a slew of other issues.

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