Women die after doctors in work boycott fail to turn up

Wednesday December 14 2011

By Nation Team [email protected]

Two women died at Coast Provincial General Hospital after waiting for more than three hours to be attended as doctors continued with their strike.

The deaths on Tuesday evening bring the number of deaths at the hospital since the strike begun to five.

Ms Petronila Dzombo said her 24-year-old sister from Likoni had fever and was referred to the provincial hospital for specialised treatment.

“We arrived at about 11am, but by 2pm when she died, no doctor had attended to her. We decided to bring her here after learning that the doctors’ strike had been called off,” Ms Dzombo said.

A relative of the other patient said she died before being diagnosed.

Conditions met

The deaths occurred as the doctors’ strike entered its 11th day. The health professionals have vowed to continue with the strike until the government meets all their conditions.

On Wednesday, the doctors waited for the final resolution during an annual delegates meeting in Nairobi.

“We decided to defy our union’s official order to return to work since we felt the agreement did not involve most of us,” said one of the doctors at the provincial hospital.

The doctor told the Nation it was a mockery for the government to increase their allowances without coming up with a plan on how to address shortage of medicine and crucial facilities in public hospitals.

Earlier, the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentist Union Coast chapter chairman Yuya Omondi said the government was “bribing” them to go back to work instead of addressing issues affecting the health sector.

“Allowance was part of the 13 points we requested the government to address, but there are other issues which are critical and need to be addressed,” Mr Omondi said.

On Monday, the union’s national officials called off the strike after the government pledged to pay them up to Sh90 million in allowances.

In Nakuru, pregnant mothers who require urgent Caesarean section were neglected yesterday as doctors at the Rift Valley Provincial General Hospital stayed away.

At the Nyanza Provincial General Hospital in Kisumu, patients complained of neglect.

“We have been here since morning, and have been told to wait for the doctor since he is in surgery,” a patient at the Ear Nose and Throat unit said.

The Kisumu branch union chairman Wesley Oogo insisted proper communication was not followed in calling off the strike and that doctors there were still on strike until the union gives the way forward.

Reported by Anthony Kitimo, Francis Mureithi and Brian Yongah