Nairobi medics issue seven-day strike notice as CAS calls for calm

Doctors working in Nairobi have today issued a seven-day strike notice that elapses on August 21.

The Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentists Union cited salary arrears and a Covid-19 isolation facility for the health workers as part of their grievances.

Speaking on Friday, KMPDU Nairobi secretary Thuranira Kaugiria said the healthcare workers’ National Hospital Insurance Fund covers have not been active since last month.

The doctors cited the wrangles between the Nairobi county government and the Nairobi Metropolitan Service (NMS) as part of why they have resorted to going on strike.

But speaking at Afya House on Friday, Health CAS Dr Mercy Mwangangi said Covid-19 allowances for all Nairobi medics have been paid and urged the medics to remain confident that they will get efficient PPEs.

She admitted that there has been a challenge on medics’ promotions but that the government and NMS are in talks to iron out the issues.

Dr Mwangangi further added that there is an isolation facility set aside for medics at the Kenyatta National Hospital and a local hotel.

Kaugiria added that some of the arrears go back six months, adding that since March when the disease was first confirmed in the country, 15 doctors have contracted coronavirus and recovered at home.

Also in contention is the availability of personal protective equipment for the healthcare workers. In most cases, they have to improvise.

“It is appropriate that the nation and the public at large acknowledge that healthcare workers are always on harm’s way,” Kaugiria said.

In July, Health workers were to smile all the way to the bank following the approval of their long-awaited Sh3 billion Covid-19 allowances as pledged by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The coronavirus pandemic in Kenya last month claimed the life of a doctor who succumbed to the virus within 48 hours of being admitted at a private hospital in Nairobi.

The 39-year-old Dr Adisa Lugaliki was a mother of 13-year-old twins, who is suspected to have had an underlying medical condition that exposed her to suffering the severe effects of the coronavirus that ultimately cost her life.

Further, the union says doctors are demanding compensation, in case they contract the virus and die in the line of duty.

According to the Ministry of Health, more than 634 healthcare workers have contracted the disease.

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