Nairobi doctors issue strike notice

File | Nation Media Group

Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union Nairobi branch secretary Dr Thuranira Kaugiria (centre) at a past press conference. 

What you need to know:

  • The union says doctors working for Nairobi County have not been provided with comprehensive medical insurance cover since July.
  • They say the quality of PPEs delivered to hospitals is wanting, forcing health care workers to improvise.
  • The strike notice comes at a time when the medical fraternity has lost yet another doctor to the virus.

A looming strike by doctors demanding better working conditions could paralyse operations in hospitals and quarantine centres if Nairobi County does not fulfill their demands.

The Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentists’ Union (KMPDU) Nairobi chapter has issued a seven-day strike notice and is asking the County Government to enhance their safety and welfare as they work to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

The union says doctors working for Nairobi County have not been provided with comprehensive medical insurance cover since July.

Speaking during a press conference, Dr Thuranira Kaugiria, KMPDU Nairobi Branch Secretary, said several doctors who have been admitted to hospital and have been forced to foot their bills out of pocket or solicit funds from fellow medics.

“This is against our collective bargaining agreement where it was agreed that all doctors are entitled to a comprehensive health insurance scheme, preferably the National Insurance Fund (NHIF),” he said. 

As per the Collective Bargaining Agreement signed and registered in court, all doctors are entitled to a comprehensive medical cover. 

Taking safety 'for granted'

They say they want what everyone else wants during the worst pandemic of the century — safety.

When he recently announced measures to battle Covid-19, President Uhuru Kenyatta released Sh2.66 billion to the Ministry of Health, saying part of this money would go towards the welfare of health workers, including insurance cover to deal with the negative impact of the disease.

The medics also accuse the government of taking their safety for granted.

“The quality of PPEs delivered to our hospitals is wanting, forcing health care workers to improvise PPEs. Due to this, we have several health care workers contracting Covid-19,” said Dr Kaugiria.

The strike notice comes at a time when the medical fraternity has lost yet another doctor to the virus. Dr Ndambuki Mboloi, a senior pulmonologist, is the second doctor and the ninth medic to die due to coronavirus complications.

Nairobi County has the highest number of Covid-19 cases in the country with 15,522 people confirmed to have contracted the virus so far. 

Should the doctors go on strike, medical services in the capital will grind to a halt at this critical time.

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