Sick turned away from hospitals as Kenyan doctors' strike continues

2016-12-07 17:10
iStock

iStock

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Nairobi - Sick Kenyans were turned away from hospitals and patients left stranded in their wards as a crippling strike by doctors and nurses demanding pay rises entered a second day on Tuesday.

Several patients have died as a result of lack of care in public hospitals, many of which are completely unstaffed. Kenyans have been directed to private clinics that are unaffordable to the majority of the population.

"We have had a lot of patients leaving our facility because we have no services offered due to the ongoing strike," said David Mukabi, the superintendent in charge of Busia hospital in western Kenya.

He said a 24-year-old patient had died on Monday night as a result of the walk-out.

Meanwhile the deaths of two women at the Port Victoria Hospital in western Budalangi on Monday and three patients in Mombasa on Tuesday, were attributed to the strike.

"The strike is to blame because the patient who is my sister was in a good condition and was improving," said Steven Mwaura, whose sister died of meningitis.

Local media reported instances of patients who had suffered burns or were in labour being left stranded in front of hospitals.

At one hospital in western Kenya a security guard had to help a woman give birth, while in another an orphaned child was left alone in an empty ward with no parents to organise her transfer, The Standard daily reported.

On Monday more than 100 patients escaped from Kenya's only psychiatric hospital in the capital Nairobi as the strike started, police commander Japheth Koome told AFP.

'Billions are shamelessly stolen'

Unions are demanding a 300% pay rise for doctors and 25- to 40% pay rise for nurses that they say was agreed in a 2013 collective bargaining agreement, but has yet to be implemented.

A statement on Tuesday said the government "deeply regrets" the strike and "deeply values" Kenya's medical workers.

However, Ouma Oluga, secretary general of the Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentists' Union (KMPPDU), said government officials did not show up to a meeting with striking workers at the health ministry on Tuesday afternoon.

"The government of Kenya will either have to pay doctors or will have none of them," Oluga said.

Poor salaries and working conditions have led to an exodus of Kenyan doctors to other African countries and further afield, prompting the Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU) to warn of "catastrophe" in the health sector in 2014.

According to COTU, Kenya has roughly 3 300 doctors in public health centres for a population of some 40 million.

"With a starting salary of about 40,000 shillings ($400) doctors are among the poorest paid public workers, yet they offer a critical service," said an editorial in the Daily Nation.

"It is appalling that Kenya cannot pay its doctors a decent salary, while billions are shamelessly stolen from the public coffers."

Many Kenyans took to social media to express their support for the strike, pointing to scandals in the corruption-plagued country in which millions of dollars have been embezzled or disappeared, while doctors battle to secure wage increases.

"We continue to appeal to the health workers to resume duty as we continue with the negotiations," said health minister Cleopa Mailu.

Read more on:    kenya  |  health  |  east africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/World
 

Fascinating facts about dogs

Think you know a lot about dogs? How many of these facts do you know?

 
 

Paws

Perfectly captured cat snapchats!
Fascinating facts about dogs
Out with the old dog, in with the new
Play with your pet when you're not at home
Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.