Covid-19: Kenyan Doctors Suspend Strike for 14 Days

The Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMPDU) had suspended a planned nationwide strike that was to start today.

The doctors had first threatened to commence an industrial action last month unless the government addresses their concerns about safety, health insurance, lack of protective gear and staffing needs to fight COVID-19. 

The threat comes after at least 10 doctors died from the virus in November.

However, the doctors made a volte-face on Monday and suspended the strike for 14 days to allow for further talks.

KMPDU Secretary-General, Dr Chibanzi Mwachonda, in a statement on Twitter on Monday, said, “The National Advisory Council has resolved to Suspend the Strike for 14 days to allow for dialogue. The government MUST address the 11 issues in the strike Notice failure to which the strike will commence on 21st December.”

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He added, “The union acknowledges the efforts of the two houses of Parliament (National Assembly and Senate) to resolve the grievances raised in the strike notice dated 16th November 2020. We acknowledge the goodwill of the Kenyan doctors and the public. KMPDU looks forward to the meetings set for 9th and 10th December by the Senate and National Assembly Health committees respectively.”

He said if their grievances remain unresolved, the strike will kick off on December 21.

Union officials are expected to meet senators and members of parliament for talks on Wednesday and Thursday.

The East African nation has recently recorded a surge in infections. It has so far confirmed 88,380 cases and 1,526 deaths since the pandemic started, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

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Kenya has lost no fewer than 32 medical workers to COVID-19. The deaths have angered medical workers.

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