Nyamira, Migori doctors refuse to call off strike - Beaking Kenya News

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Friday, 1 January 2021

Nyamira, Migori doctors refuse to call off strike

 

Doctors in Nyamira and Migori on Thursday said they will only end their strike if their demands are fully met.

The medics had separately withdrawn services weeks before their national union — the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union — also announced a similar strike.

In Nyamira, the doctors told the Star the strike provides the first acid test of new Governor Amos Nyaribo's capacity to confront county problems.

“While we congratulate him on his assumption of office as governor, we wish to request that he first looks into the doctors’ demands to end suffering by patients," said Lameck Omweri, KMPDU Nyanza branch secretary.

Nyaribo was sworn in Wednesday morning after his predecessor, John Nyagarama, died from Covid complications a fortnight ago. Nyagarama was buried at his Tente home in West Mugirango.

On Wednesday, KDMU Nyanza branch chairman Kevin Osuri said they want the issues facing the medics in Nyamira and Migori resolved as quickly as possible to end patients' agony. He described their demands as legitimate and worth the attention of the county bosses.

He said doctors are not sadists to see patients suffer but only want their issues resolved. The medics have stayed away from work for two months.

In Nyamira, they have been pushing for promotions and payment of salary arrears, some dating back to 2017. In Migori, they are pressing for comprehensive medical cover.

Union officials want the county to recruit more doctors to fix the shortfall that has undermined services. The county has 62 doctors on its payroll.

Osuri said the low number is a testament to how counties in the region have yet to wake up to the need for functional healthcare systems.

Nyamira needs an additional 80 to 100 doctors if it is to resuscitate the health sector, according to the union.

“We would want the country to increase the budget for the health sector and recruit more doctors. Kisii is already miles ahead in improving its healthcare system and I think it is high time we borrowed a leaf from them,” Osuri said.

In Migori, the doctors have accused Governor Okoth Obado's administration of dragging its feet in dealing with their demands even as patients continue to suffer.

In a letter, union regional boss Osuri defended the strike, maintaining that it will go on until the issues they had raised with the administration are addressed.

"Let the governors rise to the occasion and end these strikes; they are the ones who have the solutions at hand, and I don’t think there is anything difficult in it,” he said.

Osuri told the doctors to stay put until the issues their concerns are addressed.

"We are not envisaging they go back unless their demands are met,” he said.

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