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

The Star (Kenya) - - Front Page - JULIUS OTIENO @juliu­so­tieno04

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.

/ PA­TRICK VIDIJA

Nairobi Health ex­ec­u­tive Bernard Muia with County Sec­re­tary Robert Ayisi at Mama Lucy Kibaki Hos­pi­tal on Fe­bru­ary 11

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