A major health crisis will unfold at all public hospitals and health facilities tomorrow if health workers make good their threat of industrial action.
The 14-days strike notice issued by Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentists’ Union (KMPDU), Kenya Union of Clinical Officers (KUCO), and Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) expires tomorrow.
The health workers are demanding medical insurance, more personal protection equipment to help them fight Covid-19, and additional staff.
Kenya has lost 32 medical workers to the disease, with 10 of them dying in the last two weeks.
“Kenyans, I want to tell you that you are on your own; the patients in the hospitals I want to tell you that you are on your own; people in your homes who suffer from different ailments I want to tell you are on your own. The good government doesn’t care for you anymore,” KMPDU chairman Samwel Oroko said earlier this week.
“Our strike begins on Tuesday,” said KUCO Secretary General George Gibore, revealing that a member of the organisation died of the virus yesterday.
Gibore said NHIF declined to foot the medical bill of the departed clinician. “Why would we have to raise Ksh2 million for medical and funeral expenses yet our colleague was a government employee?” posed Gibore in an interview with a local daily.
KMPDU says delayed salaries and non-remittance of NHIF deductions has led to differences between their members and the national and county governments.
What are the healthcare workers demanding?
- Employment of 2,350 doctors
- At least 50 to cover for Covid-19 at County hospitals
- More Personal Protection Equipment
- Medical Insurance
- Compensation for the families of 18 nurses who died from COVID-19
- Risk allowance
- All overdue salaries and allowances
- Reinstatement of all sacked doctors in Laikipia and Kirinyaga Counties
- Formation of a Health Services Commission
- Permanent employment of all doctors on contract