Medics list demands in new strike ultimatums
Healthcare services could soon be paralysed after doctors and clinicians yesterday threatened to down tools over what they termed as the government’s failure to address their welfare leading to the death of 31 health workers in the fight against Covid-19.
While issuing the strike notice yesterday, the medics from different unions took a swipe at the government for neglecting them despite them playing a critical role.
Their threats come at a time when the country’s infection rate has been surging, particularly in Nairobi with most hospitals and Intensive Care Units (ICU) facilities filled with coronavirus patients.
Addressing a separate press conferences, Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KPMDU) and Kenya Union of Clinical Officers (KUCO) gave a raft of demands they want met before the expiry of the strike notices.
“Doctors will not engage in a suicide mission in the war against coronavirus.
We are soldiers who are fighting this invisible enemy and unless you give proper tools we will die,” said a visibly angry KMPDU Secretary-General Chibanzi Mwachonda.
“We are dying because the government refused to listen to our advisory when the country recorded the first Corona case.
These deaths could have been avoided if they listened to us,” said KUCO General Secretary George Gibore.
Among the demands the medics are pushing include provision of protective gear, comprehensive medical insurance, salaries paid on time, promotions, compensation packages and exemptions from duty for doctors who are pregnant or who have pre-existing conditions. They also want the government to hire 1,000 unemployed doctors to bridge shortages.
While KMPDU issued a 21-day strike notice, clinical officers under KUCO issued a seven-day notice to have all grievances addressed.
Speaking at their headquarters Mwachonda said the focus on the virus has been skewed towards procurement that has given birth to tenderpreneurs at the expense of the much needed human resources for health.
“Covid-19 is a public health emergency that has placed an extraordinary burden on our profession.
Our members have worked in extremely difficult draining, hazardous and injurious working environments,” added Mwachonda.