Kenya doctors deny cancelling strike

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The Secretary-General of the Kenya Medical Association, Prof Lukoye Atwoli (centre), national chairperson Dr Jacqueline Kitulu (right), Chairman, the Kenya Dental Association Dr Wetende Andrew (left) with other officials during a press conference on the ongoing strike by the medics in Nairobi on March 8, 2017. DENNIS ONSONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP.

Doctors in Kenya have denied claims by the government that they had called off their work boycott.

The government stated the doctors had resumed work, effectively ending the over three-month boycott.

But a spot check at the hospitals revealed that most doctors were not back at work, and the doctors union also said the strike was still on.

Amicable solution

The Kenya Medical Association Secretary-General, Prof Lukoye Atwoli, said: “Not true yet. Efforts are still ongoing to get an amicable solution.”

However, a statement posted on the Ministry of Health official website indicated that doctors heeded the government’s order to resume work so that negotiations could resume.

“Striking doctors have heeded the government’s call to resume work after the government stopped further negotiation with their union. A spot check of major county public health facilities reveals that doctors have started streaming back to hospitals across the country to resume duty,” the statement read.

The union

It added that Makueni County, east of Nairobi, was leading with 50 per cent of the doctors having reported back to work.

At the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital in Kisumu, there was no doctor in sight.

Said the hospital’s doctor in charge Aggrey Akula: “They are not working. If anybody tells you otherwise, treat that as rumour. They have told us that they are waiting for a word from the union before deciding whether or not to resume work.”

Remained cagey

The chief officer at the Health Department in Makueni County, Patrick Musyoki, declined to confirm or deny reports that doctors had resumed work, citing fear of victimisation.

“Let me not comment on that, I don’t want to be victimised,” he told our reporter.

The Director of Medical Services in Kiambu County Andrew Toro also remained cagey, saying they would only know how many doctors were back to work once they conduct a headcount.

©Alleastafrica and The Eastafrican

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