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

The Star (Kenya) - - Counties - STAN­LEY NJENGA AND JULIUS OTIENO @TheS­tarKenya

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.

/ STAN­LEY NJENGA

Ki­ambu Health ex­ec­u­tive Jonah Mwangi (R) speaks with county of­fi­cers dur­ing a meet­ing to ad­dress an in­flux of pa­tients in hos­pi­tals

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