290 KNH consultant doctors join strike, patients suffer

By Juney Karisa.

The health crisis in the country deepened Thursday after over 290 consultant doctors at the Kenyatta National Hospital joined the industrial strike in a development that has affected services at the hospital’s emergency unit.

The entry into the fray of the KNH consultants, Kenyatta National Hospital bodes ill for the thousands of patients that rely on them for vital healthcare every day.

The medics, who have suspended their services at the emergency wing of the National Hospital, are urging the government to honor the 2013 comprehensive bargaining agreement.

And with doctors demanding nothing less than full implementation of a collective bargaining agreement signed between them and the national government three years ago, the situation remains bleak with the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union threatening to shut down private and mission hospitals that are still operational beginning Tuesday.

However, Dr Abdi Mohammed, chair of the Kenya Association of Private Hospitals has revealed that private hospitals under that union may not shut down, but privately run clinics would close just for one day on December 13, the date of the union’s appearance in court.

KMPDU is opposed to a return to work formula proposed by the national government dismissing the plan as part of underhand tactics by the government to end the strike.

The doctors also want a case at the employment and labor relations court withdrawn before their representatives can come back on the negotiation table.

as doctors and nurses sustain the pressure, patients continue to bear the tough consequences of the strike, even as President Kenyatta calling on the striking doctors to consider the plight of the suffering patients.

The strike has ignited calls by a section of Mps proposing the revertion of the health docket back to the national Government.

Key demands made by the striking doctors include a nearly 130% salary raise for the lowest-level members, from a maximum of Sh149,880 to Sh342,770.

For the highest level, job Group T, the union wants an increase from a maximum of Sh538,980 to Sh946,000, a 75% rise.