The Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) has insisted that every County employs 50 doctors in order to deal with the Covid-19 strain and other medical needs in hospitals. KMPDU acting secretary general Dr. Chibanzi Mwachonda speaking to the press on Tuesday said the government employed 188 doctors to operate in Covid-19 isolation and treatment centres back in August, on a 6 month contract and they still haven’t been paid, neither do they have medical cover. County governments are now using these doctors to cover for shortages, “County governments are playing with this issue. The same doctors who are supposed to be working in isolation centres have now been deployed to work in different departments like the maternities.”
He said there is an acute shortage of doctors in the Counties, adding that if 50 doctors aren’t employed per County, it will reinforce their planned strike. Mwachonda also hit out at Health CS Mutahi Kagwe, pointing out that comments concerning doctors contracting the virus out of hospitals is insulting, “Doctors spend a good 12 to 19 hours in hospitals serving Kenyans.” On the issue of PPEs, he said the PPEs at KEMSA must be availed for doctors and all health workers.
KMPDU issued a 21-day strike notice on November 16th, set to expire on December 6th, with several issues they want addressed. They include provision of medical cover by NHIF for all doctors, employment of at least 2,000 doctors on permanent and pensionable terms, enhancement of the risk allowance, provision of adequate and standard personal protective equipment, conversion of all contractual employment terms to permanent and pensionable among others.
Mwachonda said they’ve already had engagements with several leaders and the demands they have are clear to everyone in government, “When the government will resolve all the matters we shall ensure that our members are back to work.” He further noted that blame games between the different levels of government are anticipated and that the position they’ve taken is non negotiable.