Doctors Strike: The Only Way Forward

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In the media reports, in a terse statement Tuesday, Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki termed the industrial action by the health workers illegal for defying a court order to go back to work.

Consequently, he has directed police to ensure strict maintenance of law and order to protect the general public and the health workers providing services pending the resolution of the labour dispute.

“It is noted with grave concern that the participants in the industrial action by health workers continue to defy the aforesaid court order and to intimidate and threaten violence against health workers who have opted not to participate in the unlawful strike” he said.

“Gatherings, protests or whatever other action(s) in pursuit of grievances outside the law and in breach of court directives undermines the constitutional order of the Country and are, therefore, not permissible” he stated.

Doctors are not like the cattle rustlers in Pokot. This is a different ball game altogether.

The only option in which any party is in contempt of a court order is to take them back to court and ask the judges to make a ruling on contempt charges and usually if you win the contempt case the courts will order the party in contempt to stop it immediately and follow the original court order or be sent to jail mostly for something like two months until they accept to do what the court order asked them to do.

So if the government has knowledge of the laws of Kenya they would take the case back to the courts and file contempt charges. The real problem there is that the doctors may go to court and decide they are ready to go to jail for two months but they are not going back to work unless their demands are met.

That would be wonderful for sick Kenyans waiting for medical services if they can go to jail with the doctors and get healthcare services there. In reality, this whole doctors’ strike is getting out of control and it is a matter of days before Kenyans come out to join them in the streets.

Currently, it looks like the matter is headed to the streets with mass action to support Kenyan doctors and other medical health providers.

Azimio Threatens To Join Doctors In Strike If Issues Not Resolved
Azimio threatens to join doctors in strike if issues not resolved

In the latest news the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition party leaders have threatened to join doctors in their ongoing demonstrations if the government will not move with speed to unlock the current stalemate.

Led by Wiper party boss Kalonzo Musyoka, the opposition faction said they are ready to show solidarity with the medics in the streets if push comes to shove.

The leaders, who addressed the press on Tuesday, also slammed President William Ruto for dismissing the doctors’ call to have their terms improved.

Interns are not being posted. Reports suggesting that over 1000 interns are currently unaware of their futures despite having completed their rigorous 6 year course. The required number of interns however is larger.

“This regime is failing its citizens. We’re consulting, and if they do not stop this strike, we as Kenyans will be free to join…(because) the only language they (government) understands ni kuenda kwa mitaa,” said Kalonzo.

DAP Kenya party leader Eugene Wamalwa added: “Interior CS Kithure Kindiki has outlawed the strike, meaning beginning tomorrow we might start seeing teargas. As Azimio we’re saying it is their (doctors’) constitutional right under Article 37, and if this government instead of addressing the root cause, is going to use teargas and force against the doctors, as Azimio we’re ready to come out to stand with them.”

Kalonzo went on to accuse President Ruto of double-speak in the matter, noting that the doctors’ issues should be addressed immediately.

He further decried that as a result of the ongoing medics’ go-slow, most families have been left exposed and are now suffering.


r/Kenya - President Ruto and his Deputy Rigathi Gachagua, claimed they inherited a dilapidated economy, and other funny stories... Interesting!


Way Forward

The most sensible thing for William Ruto and his cabinet ministers to do now is call for an immediate meeting with KMPDU and other health provider unions and have a honest and frank meeting for immediate resolutions.

At that meeting let both sides put everything on the table and come to a practical and fair compromise to get health providers back at work and sort things as we go along.

The funding formula for medical services in Kenya need to be streamlined. Right now counties like Nyeri are threatening to fire all the doctors in the county. On Monday Monday April 8, 2024 Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga declared he is firing all 59 doctors from Nyeri hospitals because of the strike.

Tuesday, April 9, 2024 – All doctors participating in the ongoing strike in Nyeri County face imminent sack

Those doctors who work in public hospitals that our politicians are insulting are some of the most experienced doctors in the country and they have been working right amid very complicated health problems for Kenyans.

The rule usually for the doctors who go to Kenya Medical School is that they have to take jobs in the public sector if offered. Now if they are fired that rule is dead and they are free to get jobs wherever they find them.

Some counties want private union deals for each county. That is a recipe for chaos because there will be strikes in 20 to 30 counties every week and the entire healthcare system in Kenya will be in ruins.

The doctors have a national union called KMPDU which means all health providers in Kenya work under the same terms guided by the same standards of care provided and are paid the same so that healthcare providers do not refuse to work in certain counties.

One hundred striking doctors fired by Kenyan hospital as national strike approaches one month

A recent development in Kenya has led to a public hospital in Nairobi firing 100 doctors who took part in a nationwide strike that began almost a month ago. The Kenyatta University Referral Hospital has stated that new doctors have been hired to replace the striking doctors.

And the geniuses at the Kenyatta hospital has found a perfect way to replace the 100 doctors they have fired by hiring 5 foreign doctors.

KUTRRH Hires 5 Foreign Doctors, Serves Striking Medics With Dismissal, Suspension Letters
KUTRRH hires 5 foreign doctors, serves striking medics with dismissal, suspension letters

Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral & Research Hospital (KUTRRH) is seeking to enlist the services of foreign doctors to help avert a looming medical disaster at the 650-bed facility. 

According to Prof. Olive Mugenda, Chairperson of the KUTRRH Board, the strike has stranded scores of patients, including cancer patients who are about to begin chemotherapy and those already under treatment .  

“Some people have begun chemotherapy and are at home and for some these treatments are needed urgently,”  Prof.Mugenda told journalists on Tuesday. 

“After consultation with the board, we thought it wise–and we have permission from the government to hire some foreign doctors to help us,”

So far, the facility has enlisted the services of four oncologists from Ethiopia, Malawi, and Tanzania, allowing some critical services to resume. 

According to Prof. Mugenda, with the new hires, the facility was able to conduct approximately 40 chemotherapy sessions on Monday.

“They are clinical oncologists from East Africa, they are trained and are already doing a good job,” She added. 

Regarding the future of the hospital’s striking doctors, Prof Mugenda stated that the majority of them had received dismissal or suspension letters.

Adongo Ogony is a Human Rights Activist and a Writer who lives in Toronto, Canada

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