Doctors deny cancelling strike as govt states otherwise

Some doctors have gone back to work in public hospitals, the government has claimed.

The government stated that they had resumed work, effectively ending the over three-month boycott.

But a spot check at the hospitals revealed that most doctors are not back at work, and the doctors union has said the strike is still on.

Prof Lukoye Atwoli, the Kenya Medical Association secretary, said: “Not true yet. Efforts are still ongoing to get an amicable solution.”

However, a statement posted on the Ministry of Health official website indicated that doctors heeded the government’s order to resume work so that negotiations could resume.

“Striking doctors have heeded the government’s call to resume work after the government stopped further negotiation with their union. A spot check of major county public health facilities reveals that doctors have started streaming back to hospitals across the country to resume duty,” the statement read.

It added that Makueni County was leading with 50 per cent of the doctors having reported back to work.

Further, that doctors working at the Nyandarua, Kiambu, Machakos and Taita Taveta county hospitals were also back to work.

“Those at Kenyatta National Hospital, Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital and Mathari have also reported back on duty. Amidst the strike, health services in Bomet, Lamu, Wajir, Mandera, Samburu and Turkana counties remained uninterrupted,” it went on.

Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua told the Sunday Nation that only 13 out of 206 doctors had reported back to work, 11 of whom never went on strike.

“We have a total of 13 doctors on duty. Eleven never went on strike and two who had been on strike have come to work. Once a week lapses after the issuance of the show cause letters that I gave them two days ago, the ones who will not have resumed work will have their services terminated,” he warned.

The situation was no better at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret with authorities telling the Sunday Nation that only a “few” doctors had resumed work.

“A few have reported back to work but they have until Wednesday to report or face disciplinary action,” said the hospital’s Public Relations Officer Emmanuel Koros.

At the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital in Kisumu, there was no doctor in sight.

Said the hospital’s doctor in charge Aggrey Akula: “They are not working. If anybody tells you otherwise, treat that as rumour. They have told us that they are waiting for a word from the union before deciding whether or not to resume work.”

The chief officer at the Health Department in Makueni County, Patrick Musyoki, declined to confirm or deny reports that doctors had resumed work, citing fear of victimisation.

“Let me not comment on that, I don’t want to be victimised,” he told our reporter.

The Director of Medical Services in Kiambu County Andrew Toro also remained cagey, saying they would only know how many doctors are back to work once they conduct a headcount tomorrow.

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