Doctors threaten to stop autopsies, filling out P3 forms following Koome's warning

Doctors strike

Hundreds of health workers participate in a demonstration in Nairobi on April 16, 2024.

Photo credit: Evans Habil | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • In his statement on Sunday, Koome warned the striking doctors against disrupting activities in hospitals.
  • The IG termed the protests a public nuisance, citing their blowing of whistles and vuvuzelas during the demonstrations, which he said caused discomfort to patients in hospitals and the general public.

Striking doctors have threatened to stop conducting postmortem and filling P3 forms to facilitate court processes should police interfere with their strike.

The doctors say they have stopped conducting postmortem and even going to courts to testify until their grievances are addressed.

Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union North Rift Secretary General Dr Mulei Kamonzi says their strike has already affected court cases, and the situation will worsen if police brutalise protesting doctors.

“We play a critical role in helping police prosecute their cases in courts through postmortem, filling of P3 forms in criminal cases such as assault among other cases. As of now most of the cases in courts have been paralysed due to this strike and should police attempt to mishandle striking doctors, the situation will worsen,” said  Dr Kamonzi.

Despite a directive from their boss to deal with striking medics, police officers watched from a distance during the entire period.

In his statement on Sunday, Mr Koome warned the striking doctors against disrupting normal activities in hospitals.

“We have information that non-medics who want to use the situation to cause havoc and terror to the public intend to join the ongoing processions, a move that poses a threat to public safety and security. In the interest of national security, therefore, all respective police commanders have been instructed to deal with such situations firmly and decisively following the law,” instructed Koome.

The IG termed the protests a public nuisance, citing their blowing of whistles and vuvuzelas during the demonstrations, which he said caused discomfort to patients in hospitals and the general public.

Despite the warning, medics in Eldoret blew their whistles and vuvuzelas during Monday demos, challenging the police boss to direct his energies towards taming rogue bandits in the North Rift.

“Let Mr Koome direct his energies to Baringo, West Pokot, Samburu, and other places where insecurity is rampant and not on professionals like us who are peacefully demanding our rights,” stated Dr Kamonzi.

The demonstration in Eldoret Town almost turned ugly after matatu operators attempted to block the medics from accessing Eldoret Central Business District (CBD).

The confronters, who donned PSV drivers and matatu operators’ uniforms, challenged the protesting medics at Trogadero matatu terminus, an encounter that almost turned chaotic.

The group attempted to block the demonstrators, who were led by KMPDU North Rift officials, from accessing the Eldoret CBD through Nandi Road at the Trogadero terminus.

It all started when a group of matatu operators blocked the road near Naivas Supermarket, chanting anti-doctors' slogans, demanding that the striking medics go to their workstations.

“You cannot come here to interfere with our business. Go back to the hospital to continue with your strike,” shouted one of the confronters.

The matatu operators dismissed the doctors’ strike, saying they should be thankful they have a salary in a country where millions are jobless.

It took the intervention of other members of the public to push the confrontors away, as striking doctors approached them chanting anti-Susan Nakhumicha slogans. Nakhumicha is the Ministry of Health Cabinet Secretary.

Members of the public pushed the matatu operators to the terminus while the striking doctors restrained themselves amid the attempt by the anti-demo group to attack them.

KMPDU leaders from the region condemned the incident, claiming that the confronters were goons hired by the government to attack the medics.

“We suspect that the goons who attempted to attack us during our peaceful demonstration were hired by certain politicians and government officers to attack us,” Dr Kamonzi said.

The situation calmed down before the protestors continued with their demonstrations, camping at the main gate of Uasin Gishu County Government offices.

They were denied access to the governor's office by the security officers.

Their request to be addressed by Governor Jonathan Bii was futile since the county boss was reportedly out of office on official duty.

During Monday’s Eldoret demos, the doctors were joined by nursing students led by North Rift Secretary General Joylene Nashipae, who accused the Kenya National Union of Nurses National Secretary General Seth Panyako of being silent when nurses continue to suffer.

“As we join this demonstration, we are calling upon Mr Panyako to come out and join doctors in the fight for their rights if he cares about suffering nurses. If he is tired, let him resign and allow us to fight for our rights without him,” said Ms Nashipae.

She challenged the government to reinstate all nurses to Job Group K, calling on all intern nurses not to pick up their appointment letters until their terms are upgraded.

KMPDU North Rift chairman Dr Ishamael Aiyabei said they are not going to relent on their push, despite threats from police and other government officers.

Dr Aiyaibei said medics would only call off the strike if the government implemented all the 19 grievances in the 2017 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

“No amount of intimidation is going to stop us from demanding our rights, all intern doctors must be employed and paid more than Sh200,000 and not Sh70,000 proposed by the government," said Dr Aiyaibei.

The protestors brought activities around the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) to a standstill as suffering patients and their relatives watched them sing and dance at the gate for about an hour.

Police officers from Naiberi and Kapsoya police stations looked helplessly as the medics blocked the main entry to MTRH.