Patients seek treatment in Kiambu as doctors go on strike
‘We have addressed the issues they raised 100 per cent. If they are not contented, they should engage us as they work to avoid suffering of patients,’ says health official
Striking doctors in Nairobi have been told to resume work or face unspecified action as patients flock to hospitals in the neighbouring Kiambu county.
The doctors have been on strike since Sunday, citing delayed payments and promotions.
Health executive Bernard Muia yesterday said the county met with the doctors’ union and agreed the promotions will be handled by hospital boards. On payments, he said all the doctors, including those on internship, will receive their salaries at the end of the month. He urged the doctors to resume work immediately.
“If they are not contented, they should engage us as they work to avoid the suffering of patients,” Muia said.
But doctor’s union secretary general Ouma Oluga said they have not been paid for six months and their NHIF deductions have not been remitted since January. “We’ve tried to use diplomatic means to solve these problems. In fact, we’ve held five meetings with the county and written several letters since April, but no action has been taken,” he said on the phone yesterday.
This came as a Kiambu county official said they have experienced an influx of patients from Nairobi, since the doctors went on strike.
Yesterday, Kiambu Health executive Jonah Mwangi told the press the Kiambu Level 4 Hospital has been receiving more than 1,000 patients daily.
This, he said, has caused long queues. “I call upon Kiambu residents to bear with us on the long queues in our hospital due to the influx of patients. We believe this is due to the good services being offered in hospitals here,” Mwangi said. He urged the national government to put a policy in place on how neighbouring counties should share resources.
The Nairobi Health executive said all county consultants had been redeployed to ensure health services run smoothly. “Clinical officers are manning both outpatient and hospital wards to prevent a delay in service delivery,” Muia said.
Mama Lucy Hospital CEO Musa Mohamed said operations at the facility have not been affected by the strike. “On average we receive 700 to 1,000 patients a day. That has not changed,” he said.
Kiambu Health executive Jonah Mwangi (R) speaks with county officers during a meeting to address an influx of patients in hospitals