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Patients suffer as health workers keep off duty despite court order

By Mactilda Mbenywe | June 30th 2020

Jaramogi Odinga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital, Kisumu. [File, Standard]

Patients in Kisumu continue to miss critical healthcare services following the ongoing doctors' strike which enters week four. 

The doctors, together with other health workers who had downed tools, were expected to resume work last Friday following a court order.

But as clinical officers, nurses, laboratory technicians and pharmacists resumed work, doctors claimed that the court order did not include them.

This has seen services in all the facilities fail to resume fully, with Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital being the most hit.

The health workers had downed tools over delayed May salaries as well as lack of promotion and other benefits.

Last week, the county government went to court seeking orders to have the health workers return to work as the issues raised were being handled.

Most health workers had resumed work by 8am on Friday as directed by the court.

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However, the court order failed to capture members of Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU), a situation which saw doctors fail to report to work.

The ruling by Justice Nduma Nderi halted the three-week strike that had left operations in all public health facilities paralysed.

Response to Covid-19 cases had also been grossly affected after the medics deserted isolation facilities.

But as services picked up slowly, few patients visited the county health facilities.

Justice Nderi directed the county government to effect the promotion of workers by June 30, and also ensure that their arrears dating back to July 2019 was paid by July 30, this year.

According to KMPDU branch secretary Lameck Omweri, the doctors did not report back to work because they were not respondents in the case. 

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