Clinical Officers Give Kenyan Government 14-Day Strike Notice

A health worker puts on his personal protective equipment (PPE) before entering the red zone of a MSF (Doctors Without Birders) supported Ebola Treatment Centre (ETC), where he will check up on patients on November 6, 2018 in Bunia, Democratic Republic of the Congo. – The death toll from an Ebola outbreak in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo has risen to more than 200, the health ministry said on November 10, 2018. (Photo by John WESSELS / AFP)

The Kenya Union of Clinical Officers on Sunday gave the government a 14-day strike notice to meet their demands for better working conditions.

The frontline healthcare workers, fighting the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, are demanding adequate Personal Protection Equipment (PPEs) and risk allowance.

The notice comes at a time the government is facing another strike threat from the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union.

Allowance aside, the healthcare workers are also mourning their colleagues who have succumbed to the pandemic in the last few days.

Others who succumbed to coronavirus-related cases were said to have had underlying cases.

Seven clinical officers have succumbed to COVID-19 so far following the demise of a clinical officer based at Kisii Level 5 hospital, in western Kenya.

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As at Sunday, 33 health workers, including specialist doctors, had succumbed to the pandemic.

According to the Kenya Union of Clinical Officers Chairman, Peterson Wachira, the loss of lives could have been avoided if the government had heeded advice by health unions and the World Health Organization to exempt vulnerable health practitioners from active duty.

The health care workers say they will invoke the Occupational Safety and Health Act and withdraw services until their safety is guaranteed if the employer challenges the strike notice in court.

They said they will not negotiate on matters pertaining to the sanctity of life of their members.

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The union also wants vulnerable health workers or those with pre-existing conditions exempted from active frontline duty.

Union leaders have also called for the provision of a comprehensive medical cover for health workers and their dependants.

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