Striking doctors to be replaced with interns, part-time medics
Health executive says the strike is illegal. But an assembly committee says it has cautioned the county against sacking the workers because industrial action is a right
Nairobi county is hiring part-time (locum) doctors and will also engage trainees (interns) to replace the striking medics.
This comes as the striking doctors vowed not to return to work until the county addresses their demands.
The doctors downed their tools on September 11, demanding six months’ salaries. They also protested against delayed promotions and the county’s failure to remit their NHIF deductions since January.
Health executive Bernard Muia said the strike is illegal as it is against the agreement the doctors’ union struck with the county on September 9, following a two-week strike notice on August 29.
“The parties resolved that the scheduled strike be put off by two weeks to allow time to attend to unresolved issues,” he said.
Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists’ Union secretary general Ouma Oluga said none of the issues they raised with the county has been resolved.
“We are on strike, that is it. City Hall has not addressed any of the issues we raised. Let them (City Hall) sleep, when they wake up let them resolve the issues presented to them,” he said.
Meanwhile, the county assembly Health Committee has said it will not allow City Hall to replace the medics.
Chairman Manoah Mboku said the doctors are within their rights to demand the pay and accused the county of frustrating its workers.
“We have already told the county not to sack them. They [doctors] are within their rights. They are asking for allowances, promotions and better working environment,” he said.
Nominated MCA Karen Wanjiru, a committee member, blamed the county executive for the “mess” in the health sector.
“We have visited almost all the facilities in Nairobi and their situation is similar. Understaffing, drug and equipment shortage. We had done reports and made recommendations but no action has been taken,” she said.
The Health sector got the lion’s share – Sh6.5 billion – of the county’s Sh35 billion 2016-17 budget.
On Wednesday last week, Kiambu Health executive John Mwangi complained that the city doctors’ strike has led to an influx of patients in Kiambu health centres.
Nairobi Health executive Bernard Muia with County Secretary Robert Ayisi at Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital on February 11