Doctors Defy CS Kagwe, Begin Nationwide Strike

Health workers on strike
Health workers during a strike in Kenya.

Kenyan doctors officially commenced their strike on Monday, December 21, following failed talks between the government and the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU).

 KMPDU secretary general Chibanzi Mwachonda vowed to continue the strike until the government meets their demands on PPE, risk allowance and comprehensive medical cover.

"It is very difficult to let our members continue working in very difficult conditions without implementable action. So what we need right now is action from the various government agencies to basically implement what is on the table," Mwachonda stated.

KMPDU acting Secretary general Dr. Chibanzi Mwachonda
KMPDU acting Secretary-general Dr. Chibanzi Mwachonda

The doctors' union joined nurses and clinical officers who have been on strike for the last two weeks.

The union declared that no amount of intimidation and threats would make doctors go back to work. They added that court orders would not stop them from dying or getting infections.

"It's about the safety and welfare of the doctors. The country's fight against the coronavirus will be affected if doctor's walk out but we have no choice," Chibanzi added.

During the weekend, Health CS Mutahi Kagwe directed county governments to advertise vacancies for health workers who are on strike.

He urged the over 8,000 unemployed nurses to apply for the vacancies.

“Wale ambao wako nje ambao wanataka kazi na wanaaka uendelea na kazi wakati huu ndio sasa walete barua zao waajiriwe kazi na hiyo maneno iishie hapo. (Those who have been looking for a job, it is now time to send your applications)," Kagwe stated.

The strike was to take place  on Monday, December 7, but was suspended for 14 days to allow for dialogue.

Despite doctors calling off their strike the Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) and the Kenya Union of Clinical Officers (KUCO) downed their tools.

The situation led to a number of patients from various parts of the country to miss out on medical services as they were turned away from hospitals.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe addressing the media on November 26, 2020
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe addressing the media on November 26, 2020
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