Nairobi doctors issue strike notice as Ministry dismisses allowance, PPE claims


Nairobi doctors issue strike notice as Ministry dismisses allowance, PPE claims
Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union, Nairobi Branch Secretary General Dr. Thuranira Kaugiria addressing the media on August 14, 2020. PHOTO| COURTESY

The Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union, Nairobi Branch, has issued a seven-day strike notice over unresolved grievances.

According to the secretary general of the union’s Nairobi chapter, Dr. Thuranira Kaugiria, the push-and-pull between the Nairobi City County and the Nairobi Metropolitan Services is to blame for the health workers’ woes.

Dr. Thuranira claimed they have been receiving ‘poor’ personal protective equipment (PPEs), adding that this has contributed to the fatalities witnessed among health workers who have succumbed to COVID-19.

“We have been getting very poor PPEs… part of it is why we have over 10 doctors who have contracted COVID. Some of us have been admitted in hospitals not forgetting that at the end of it all we have to pay the bills,” said Dr. Thuranira

Other grievances raised by the union include delayed salaries, lack of a medical cover and promotions.

They also lamented that that the government has not set aside an isolation facility to take care of doctors who contract the virus, yet there are 16 isolation facilities for the public.

According to the union, the government is also yet to implement the 2020/2021 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

“The clock has started ticking. Doctors are not martyrs… we are not children of a lesser God. We have given them until August 21, 2020 to resolve the grievances,” added Dr. Thuranira.

Heath Ministry CAS. Dr. Mercy Mwangangi, however, denied the claims by the doctors union that they have not been paid their allowances, further casting doubt on allegations that they were being provided with poor quality PPEs.

“COVID-19 allowances have been paid for all healthcare workers in Nairobi. We have confirmation from Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) that these were paid. We continue to ensure our healthcare workers have the right PPEs. We have even initiated a fourth round of distribution of PPEs and so the healthcare workers should remain confident that they will get the PPEs they need.

“In case any healthcare worker comes across a PPE which you feel is defective in any manner our doors are always open. My door is also open. Come in with that PPE and we will take the necessary action,” Dr. Mwangangi added.

Concerning doctors’ promotion, she said there a small challenge occasioned by the redeployment of the workers from the county government to NMS.

“There is a slight delay in transfer of the payroll from the Nairobi County to the NMS. However, the teams involved in ensuring this transition takes place have given assurances that they are working on this and there will be good progress to ensure all healthcare workers are transferred from the Nairobi County to NMS,” she said.

“I was also made aware that over 2,000 healthcare workers who are non-doctors, have actually gotten their promotions and redesignations and this has been effected. Further to this, I am made aware that a budget has been availed and therefor what is remaining is that small transition period.”

Meanwhile, the number of COVID-19 cases in Kenya rose to 29,334 on Friday after 580 more people were confirmed to have contracted the virus following testing of 5,458 samples.

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Story By Benjamin Muriuki
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