12 September 2012

Kenya: Public Doctors Prepare to Down Tools

Photo: Monicah Mwangi/The Star
Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union Chairman Victor Ng'ani, Secretary General Were Onyino and First Vice Chairman Sultani Matendechere lead doctors in singing a solidarity song when starting a strike for a section of Kenyatta National Hospital doctors (file photo).

Nairobi — Doctors working in the public sector will down their tools on Thursday morning, as scheduled, saying the government has turned a deaf ear to their strike notice.

The doctors under the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) told journalists on Wednesday that they would not report to their places of work until the government addressed their grievances.

KMPDU Secretary General Onyino Were said doctors had been arm twisted to strike because the government had violated the return-to work-formula that was adopted last December to end the doctors' strike.

Were said the government had not showed any intention of holding talks with doctors to stall the strike despite being given a three weeks strike notice.

"We are yet to meet any government official since we gave the strike notice 21 days ago so it is not business as usual from today midnight," he warned.

"And it is worth noting that senior government officials, including the two health ministers, seek medical services outside the country; a luxury that most Kenyans cannot afford," he argued accusing the government of being indifferent to the plight of ordinary citizens.

"We are yet to meet any government official since we gave the strike notice 21 days ago"

Were further explained that the union had been trying to negotiate with the government for nine months but in vain.

In what he termed as the 'mother of all strikes', Were said that doctors in Nairobi would march to the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) gate and hold a brief meeting before dispersing.

"We will gather at KNH at 9am before marching to the gates. I know the other branches countrywide will be having their individual demonstrations. But if the government does not respond by close of business tomorrow, we will have a big demonstration," he warned.

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