Health crisis looms as doctors turn down State offers

Monday, December 7th, 2020 12:00 |
KMPDU ACTING secretary-general Dr Chibanzi Mwachonda.

 George Kebaso @Morarak

The country will be thrown into a major healthcare crisis today as doctors join other cadres of workers in the health sector in a nationwide strike.

On Thursday, the government announced a mouth-watering Sh6.3 billion comprehensive insurance cover and Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) worth Sh3 billion in a bid to avert the planned withdrawal of services.

This followed a final statement by the doctors’ union a day earlier that come today, if their demands had not been met, they would not go to work.

“Come Monday, if the conditions we set would not have been addressed, all doctors in the country, including those teaching in the universities will stay at home,” Dr Chibanzi Mwachonda, the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMPDU) acting spokesperson told journalists at Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) after a four-hour meeting with the National Assembly Committee on Health, which yielded nothing.

The government had also directed the National Health Insurance Fund to work out a comprehensive medical scheme to all public servants, including health workers employed by the national government.

But even as the government frantically continued to pursue the doctors to extend the notice for the strike yesterday afternoon, the medics maintained that the move to down the tools is still intact.

“The strike is still on,” KMPDU Nairobi branch Secretary General Dr Thuranira Kaugiria said.

Last week, during the meeting at KICC, the Health Committee members led by chair Sabina Chege (Murang’a Woman Rep), Vice-chair, Cherangani  MP Joshua Kuttuny and his Seme counterpart Dr James Nyikal among others, pleaded with the doctors to shelve the strike until all stakeholders came to the table, but the union officials insisted their demands must first be met.

Committee members summoned the stakeholders next Thursday and if they fail to appear, a legal process will be instituted against them.

On Thursday, the Senate Committee on Health headed by Trans Nzoia Senator, Dr Michael Mbito also waded into matter, as it became apparent that doctors were unwilling to call off the strike and pleaded for extension of the notice by seven days.

“We are sending a passionate appeal to KMPDU to shelve the strike to give the committee time to bring together all relevant stakeholders,” the Senate Committee on Health wrote on its Twitter page.

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