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Kenya doctors start nationwide strike

Thursday September 13 2012

Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentist Union, South Rift branch members in Nakuru on September 12, 2012 where they announced a nationwide strike saying the government has reneged on an agreement it had signed with the doctors.

Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentist Union, South Rift branch members in Nakuru on September 12, 2012 where they announced a nationwide strike saying the government has reneged on an agreement it had signed with the doctors. The doctors' strike kicked off September 13, 2012 as services in most hospitals were paralysed. SULEIMAN MBATIAH/NATION MEDIA GROUP

By NATION Reporter

The nationwide doctors' strike kicked off Thursday as services in most hospitals were paralysed.

The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) said patients could not be attended to at the Kenyatta National Hospital and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, Eldoret.

However, the union said doctors at the Malindi Hospital were on duty to respond to cases occasioned by the Tana River clashes.

It said the strike was a success in central, north rift and other regions.

Doctors at the MTRH are holding peaceful demonstrations in Eldoret town.

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On Wednesday, Medical Services assistant minister Kazungu Kambi appealed to doctors, pharmacists and dentists to ignore the strike.

Mr Kambi said the government had met all the conditions that the union wanted fulfilled before ending the doctors’ strike in December 2011.

“However, the current demand by the union that privately-sponsored trainee doctors known as registrars’ at the Kenyatta National and Moi Referral Hospitals be paid some allowances cannot be met since they are not in the Government’s payroll,” Mr Kambi said in Parliament.

But, in a swift rejoinder, KMPDU chairman Victor Ng’ani dismissed the appeal by Mr Kambi, saying he was “just a politician making a political statement”.

“I’m surprised that people who care about (the delivery of) quality health services don’t exist in the health sector any more... It is also unfortunate that Mr Kambi has waited up to the last day to issue an erroneous statement,” Dr Ng’ani said.

Mr Kambi said the Ministry was willing to dialogue with the union to thrash out any outstanding issues.

However, Dr Ng’ani was adamant that the strike was on, saying "nothing had changed".