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Doctors union has no authority to close hospitals, official says

The 47 County Public Service Boards (CPSBs) have opposed and condemned a decision by Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists’ Union (KMPDU) to close all public, private and mission hospitals and health facilities countrywide.

The boards announced that they will hire health workers on locum basis to save the lives of Kenyans in dire need of medical attention while the health workers continue with the strike.

Speaking on Thursday evening at Travelers Beach Hotel in Mombasa County, chairperson of the counties’ public service boards National Consultative Forum, Philip Kungu, said the health workers do not have authority to shut down public, private and mission hospitals.

He requested the government to provide security in all health facilities.

Mr Kungu instead urged the striking health workers to end the stalemate by giving dialogue a chance.

“Hospitals, whether private or public, have people who make those decision of whether they can be shut or not. If KMPDU secretary general Ouma Oluga, means that the hospitals will be shut by them withdrawing their labour, they are also aware of the legal consequences because there is a court order in place that has banned the strike,” he said

Mr Kungu who is also the chairperson of the Nairobi City County Public Service Board said although there are challenges in the health sector medics should know that Kenyans were suffering.

He urged retired clinical officers, nurses and any well-wishers with skills and the competence required to come to the rescue of the suffering patients.

“We have asked our members to work closely with Governors, so that temporary measures can be put in place as intervention to get people to man these facilities and provide required services. We cannot be indifferent to the sufferings of Kenyans,” he said.

He said it was regrettable that even lives had been lost during a push and pull between the union officials and the government.

“There is always give or take. We cannot sit and watch as Kenyans die. We support the stand that was taken by Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopah Mailu and the council of governors in terms of how to approach and the proposal that was made to end this stalemate,” he said.

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