Kenyan medics on Monday issued a two-week nationwide strike notice to the government if their grievances are not met.
The Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentists Union through a presser said: “because of persistent failure and lacklustre approach to address the HRH challenges endemic, in the health sector worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic, KMPDU has resolved to consult and mobilise its members for industrial action if challenges remained unresolved.”
KMPDU Ag Secretary-General Dr Chibanzi Mwachonda noted that one of their grievances is the withdrawal of the Covid-19 allowance with no commitment or indication of its payment despite the increased risk that healthcare workers continue to face.
“It is now evident that the focus on COVID-19 was skewed towards procurement that bore the COVID-19 tenderpreneurs at the expense of the much-needed human resource for health,” Dr Mwachonda said.
The KMPDU Secretary-General also pointed out that more than 1,000 healthcare workers have been exposed to the virus, with more than 16 succumbing yet they had not been provided with a comprehensive cover.
“Six months into the pandemic the Government of Kenya is yet to fulfil its pledge on the provision of comprehensive medical insurance and compensation for those who have lost their lives in the line of duty,” he said.
The medics attributed the disrupted healthcare services at the county level to the unresolved Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) issues between the National Government and KMPDU.
“The CBA is in its final year of implementation, several issues remain unresolved. Failure to fully operationalise the CBA has directly been linked to the scattered approaches that individual county governments and the national government have taken,” he said.
Dr Mwachonda added that failure to resolve the CBA had also caused some doctors to be denied of the gains of on-call and risk allowances.
According to Dr Mwachonda, the solution to all the above issues was the creation of a Health Service Commission which would address myriad of HR challenges the country has faced pre-COVID, worsened by COVID.