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Two-month medical strike ends

Publish date: 13 May 2024
Issue Number: 1076
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: Kenya

Kenyan public hospital doctors have signed a return to work agreement with the government meant to end a strike that started in mid-March, union and government officials said. Voice of America reports that the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union, which represents more than 7 000 members, went on strike on 15 March to demand payment of their salary arrears and the immediate hiring of trainee doctors, among other grievances. ‘We have signed a return to work formula and the union has called off the strike,’ said Susan Nakhumicha, the Minister of Health. The doctors' arrears arose from a 2017 collective bargaining agreement, the union said. Doctors were also demanding the provision of adequate medical insurance coverage for themselves and their dependents. Dhavji Atellah, the union's secretary-general, said the hiring of interns demand was still pending in court, but it was agreed they would be posted within 60 days. The government had said it cannot afford to hire the trainee doctors due to financial pressure on the public purse. The Kenyan health sector, which doctors say is underfunded and understaffed, is routinely beset by strikes. A strike in 2017 lasted three months and some doctors in individual hospitals downed their tools at various times during the Covid-19 pandemic to protest lack of personal protective equipment and other grievances.

Full Voice of America report

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