Kenyan doctors announce 21-Day strike over Death of colleagues due to COVID

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Four Kenyan doctors died in 24 hours on Sunday triggering a possible strike by Health workers; Courtesy Photo

Kenyan health workers under Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentists’ Union (KMPDU) has put government on notice of an impending strike following “inaction” towards issues concerning the safety of frontline health workers in the fight against COVID-19.

In a statement released on Monday, KMPDU stated that the decision was reached at an emergency National Advisory Council meeting of unionists following the irresponsive behavior by Kenyan authorities, to demands by frontline health workers which has resulted into loss of their colleagues.

The statement comes a day after Kenya lost four frontline health workers to COVID-19 in a period of 24 hours.

In the statement, the health workers say, ever since the pandemic broke out in Kenya in March, their members have worked in extremely difficult, draining, hazardous and injurious working environment leading to the loss of 30 health workers out of which are senior specialist doctors which is a great loss to the country in the war against COVID-19.

“Over the last 8 months, KMPDU has continuously engaged all relevant government ministries, parastatals and council of governors, the legislature, senate and parliament.. in a bid to address the plight of frontline health workers. However, due to the persistent inaction by government to resolve the issues, the union is thus forced to review its options” the statement reads.

The union according to the statement, had put the industrial action option of the table, but due to inaction by government to resolve their issues, the union has been forced to review its options.

As a result of the escalating crisis in this pandemic with an exponential rise in the number of infections and indeed deaths, KMPDU stated that the strike will commence on 6th December if their demands are not met.

The provision of standard and adequate PPE’s in all healthcare facilities across Kenya, a comprehensive medical cover for all doctors in the country, and a work-mans compensation for all doctors and health workers.

The union also demands that government employs 2000 doctors out of employment and review contract terms of doctors to permanent and pensionable, enhancement of the existing risk-allowance, dedicated health care facilities in each of 47 county governments, and a constitutional health service commission.

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