A nationwide strike by doctors and nurses throughout Kenya entered its third day despite a court order ruling the strike illegal, Kenya's Daily Nation reported Thursday (December 12th).
The protest about the devolution of health services, which would leave health workers' salaries managed by county governors, has affected health services nationwide and resulted in patients being turned away from county hospitals and directed elsewhere. Staffed city hospitals such as the Kenyatta National Hospital have recalled staff on leave to deal with the resultant overcrowding.
The strike has continued despite Health Secretary James Macharia securing a court order Wednesday ruling the strike unconstitutional and contrary to the Labour Relations Act, thus prohibiting essential staff from participating.
County governors Moses Akaranga of Vihiga, Sospeter Ojaamong of Busia and Isaac Ruto of Bomet warned that striking workers who fail to return to work by Tuesday will be sacked.
However, representatives of the health workers said they had yet to receive any court orders, and accused the government of spreading rumours to weaken the strike.
"The government has invested in fear, intimidation and sideshows instead of resolving this crisis so that we can resume work," said Sultan Matendechero, secretary general of the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Association.