Nairobi Doctors Go on Strike Over Salary Delays

  • Health workers on strike
    Health workers during a strike in Kenya.
  • Nairobi  doctors on Thursday, October 15, went on strike for the second time in months over salary delays by the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS).

    In a press conference, the Nairobi branch Secretary of the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) Thuranira Kaugiria, stated that NMS had breached a return-to-work formula signed with the medical officers on August 26, 2020.

    This is after a seven-day strike notice issued to the NMS earlier in the month lapsed.

    "Today, only 11 doctors have been paid their September salaries, whereas the deal stipulated that doctors should be paid by fifth of every month," he stated.

    KMPDU Nairobi branch secretary general Thuranira Kaugiria
    KMPDU Nairobi branch secretary-general Thuranira Kaugiria speaking during a previous press conference.

    The doctors also faulted the NMS for failing to provide them with a comprehensive medical insurance through the National Health Insurance Fund.

    In response, NMS deputy director-general Kang'ethe Thuku explained that they were experiencing some challenges with regards to payroll, but which they were working on promptly.

    He assured of prompt payment of the health workers with the agreed terms.

    On the medical insurance cover, he assured the doctors that NMS had already negotiated and finalised a comprehensive cover for all its staff with NHIF.

    He however noted that an advisory from the head of public service not to proceed with the cover as the county government had already engaged AAR to provide the same.

    The health workers had gone on strike as they raised issues of poor pay, inadequate health insurance, poor quality protective gear and a small number of isolation wards for the patients.

    The health workers struck a deal with NMS in August after their issues were addressed by the Badi-led institution.

    "On behalf of doctors of Nairobi County, we have called off the strike and we shall resume work immediately and shall continue offering work as normal,” Kaugiria stated in August 2020.

    The current strike will add an element of uncertainty after NMS announced Covid-19 mass testing for Nairobians for two days beginning October 17 to October 18.

    The targeted areas are Lang'ata, Mathare, Embakasi South, Starehe, Kasarani, Roysambu, Makadara, Ruaraka, Dagoretti South, Embakasi East, Embakasi Central, Dagoretti North, Embakasi West and Westlands estates.

    NMS Director General Mohammed Badi during his visit to Ngong River on Friday, October 10
    NMS Director General Mohammed Badi during his visit to Ngong River on Friday, October 10