Nakuru doctors demand pay, go on strike

Friday May 5 2017

A nurse monitors a baby at the Intensive Care Unit after he was operated on by doctors at the Nakuru Level 5 Hospital on March 15, 2017. PHOTO | SULEIMAN MBATIAH | NATION MEDIA GROUP

A nurse monitors a baby at the Intensive Care Unit after he was operated on by doctors at the Nakuru Level 5 Hospital on March 15, 2017. PHOTO | SULEIMAN MBATIAH | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By FRANCIS MUREITHI
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Patients at the Nakuru Level Five Hospital have been thrown into another round of agony and pain after 70 doctors and specialists downed their tools on Friday demanding to be paid their outstanding salaries during the period they were on strike.

The health workers went on strike on December 5 last year for 100 days —one of the longest and painful strike that led to pain and deaths of patients.

The South Rift doctors’ union branch secretary Dr Davji Atellah said they will not resume duty until all their salary arrears are paid in full.

“President Uhuru Kenyatta on April 5 directed that all the outstanding arrears owed to the doctors should be paid and we wonder why the county government is dilly dallying with our money,” said Dr Atellah.

However, in a quick rejoinder the executive member in charge of health Dr Daniel Mungai Kabii absolved his department from the blame and instead pointed an accusing finger to the county Finance department.

“The finance department should explain where the money to pay the doctors arrears went because they had firm instructions to pay them their arrears plus their allowances because the money was budgeted,” said Dr Kabii.

Dr Atellah said that his members were concerned that the county government was not implementing the directive by the President and vowed to boycott work until they are paid their dues.

The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentist Union (KMPDU) national officials have threatened to mobilise their members to go on strike unless their members are paid the pending arrears.

The union boss Dr Ouma Olunga on Tuesday issued an ultimatum to the county governments to pay the doctors or else they will down their tools.

“We won’t work without pay as we have been stretched thin and won’t continue working until we get our dues,” said Dr Olunga.